This Week, the House passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This bill was advertised as something that will strengthen workers' rights, but the provisions in the bill are a violation of employees’ privacy rights, a shift in power from workers to union bosses, and an affront to small businesses.
Key takeaways from the PRO Act:
Forces employers to hand over mountains of personal information to unions, such as home addresses, cell phone numbers, and personal emails.
Drastically decreases the minimum time required between announcing union elections and when they will be held to as little as 11 days.
Takes away workers’ right to vote by secret ballot in many circumstances.
In the event of a disagreement, unions are recognized even if the majority of workers did not vote for the union.
Creates burdensome standards on defining joint employment and independent contractor status, which would be detrimental to the small business owners in the franchise industry.
Under this bill, the employer is forced to hand over the telephone number, the email, and the address of each employee to the union. I believe in the importance of protecting people’s privacy. To say that unions have the right to know every member’s home address and turn it over to who knows how many functionaries, I find very worrisome. I think many employees would find it scary if they came home at night to find someone waiting on their stoop to talk to them.
Another huge concern in this bill are the rules on how union elections are administered. These are not provisions that will help workers, they are gifts to union leadership that allow ambush elections. Here in Wisconsin, voters in state and federal elections are given two months’ notice from the time candidates have filed to the date of the election, which is guaranteed as secret-ballot. Under this bill, union leaders can call elections with as little as 11-days notice and in many circumstances, workers are not afforded the right to a secret ballot. It is appalling that those voting for this bill did not want to give union workers the same rights in their elections as voters have in elections for public office.
There are also unnecessary and burdensome changes to the joint employer rule. These changes will put miles of red tape on small business franchisees that would devastate the industry. Franchises fall under the umbrella of a corporation, but the franchisees are our local friends and neighbors. The changes this bill makes to the joint employer rule will burden these local store owners with liabilities that should fall on the shoulders of the corporation. This is another swipe at small business owners that will have a negative effect on our communities and will likely lead to the loss of jobs.
The Committee on Education and Labor, of which I am a member, has jurisdiction over the PRO Act, but was barred by House Democratic leadership from holding any hearings or markups of this bill. So, I was only able to offer one amendment to the bill during the House Rules Committee Markup. My amendment would have ensured people understand what joining a union means by requiring unions to provide all pertinent information on a union authorization card when presented to an employee, such as notice that the union will be the employees only collective bargaining representative and the dues and fees that will be charged by the union. Unfortunately, both this and several other amendments I supported that would have improved the bill were rejected by the majority party.
Two Anti-Second Amendment Bills
This week, Democrats pushed their radical agenda by passing two bills in the House that are effectively an assault on the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners. Our founding fathers put forth the Second Amendment to our Constitution to ensure that the power in our country rests with the people. That means that legal gun ownership in America is one of our fundamental rights.
What is not a fundamental right is illegal gun ownership. Congress should hold hearings and talk to law enforcement officials from around the country to figure out how to decrease crime in general and take guns out of the hands of criminals in a way that does not negatively affect responsible gun owners.
Sadly, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 both passed the House this week and neither do much to address illegal gun ownership. Both bills make it harder to obtain a gun legally and increase restrictions on how responsible citizens can transfer guns, with huge fines of up to $100,000 if they do not follow these new rules exactly.
I spoke out against both of these bills on the House floor this week because it is important to remember that we in Congress should be protecting your rights, not restricting them, and that legal gun ownership is not the reason behind the rise in murders last year.
Click above to watch my floor speech on H.R. 8
Click above to watch my floor speech on H.R. 1446
Congressional Art Competition
Each Spring, a nation-wide high school arts competition is sponsored by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Artistic Discovery Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in the Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District.
The Artistic Discovery Competition is open to all high school students residing in Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District. The overall winner of our District's competition will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. The exhibit in Washington will also include the winning artwork from all participating Districts from across the country. The winning artwork is also featured on the U.S. House of Representative’s Congressional Art Competition page.
The 2021 Congressional Art Competition’s rules are available here, and the following is a summary of the rules:
Artworks entered in the contest may be up to 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, including the frame. The artwork may be:
Paintings - including oil, acrylics, and watercolor
Drawings - including pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink, and markers
Two dimensional collages
Prints - including lithographs, silkscreen, and block prints
Mixed Media (use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, etc.)
All entries must be original in concept, design and execution.
Please click here for the 2021 Student Information and Release Form, which must be attached to the back of submitted artwork. Artwork submissions for the 2021 Artistic Discovery Competition may be delivered or mailed to my Fond du Lac district office on or before Monday, April 12, 2021.
If you would like more information on the annual Congressional District Art Competition, please call my Fond du Lac office at (920) 907-0624.
I look forward to seeing your work!
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a big deal. Congratulations to Garrett of Oostburg on this great achievement!
Wisconsin is home to many towns and villages with diverse needs. It is always a pleasure to meet with the Wisconsin Towns Association, who keep me informed of the needs of Wisconsin’s small and rural communities.
On day 1, President Joe Biden's executive actions sent a message that securing our border is no longer a priority. We’re seeing the consequences already, as illegal crossings have doubled from this time last year.
I spoke with the School Nutrition Association about ensuring children are given healthy, nutritious, and tasty options with their school lunch, like vitamin-rich milk from Wisconsin farmers!
I met with the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy to gain a better understanding of Duchenne syndrome - a tragic disorder of muscular weakness in children. We can make a difference in these children's lives by championing further research and raising awareness.
As your Congressman, I’m here to serve you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to my offices in Fond du Lac and Washington. If you enjoyed this newsletter be sure to forward it to your family and friends so they can stay informed on what I’m doing in Washington and the 6th District.
You can also stay up-to-the-minute by following me on Facebook (Congressman Glenn Grothman), Twitter (@RepGrothman) and Instagram (@RepGlennGrothman).