In May 2019, Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives introduced S1306 and HR2474, known as the PRO Act. Democrats call the union-backed bills “landmark legislation to protect workers’ rights to organize.”
However, sometime between September and December 2019, the legislation changed. It now also contains the same “ABC test” that is at the heart of California’s disastrous AB5, and that would drastically rewrite the federal rules for who can, and cannot, legally work as an independent contractor. Even people who prefer to work for themselves—which federal data show is 79 percent of independent contractors—could be forced into traditional jobs they don’t even want.
As reported in Forbes: “While those supporting these measures may claim otherwise, many of the bills or laws try to effectively eliminate the existence of independent contractors, preferring everyone to be an employee and, presumably, someone who might then be persuaded to join a union.”
Given the chaos that AB5 has caused in California for people who choose to work as independent contractors, and the fact that their income is being destroyed, it is clear that the “ABC test” is career-killing legislation for independent contractors. It has nothing to do with the organizing rights of union workers or helping exploited workers; it has everything to do with destroying the livelihoods of people who choose to work for themselves.
In February 2020, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pro Act with the ABC test still in it. The legislation is expected to die in the Senate, as long as Republicans maintain control of that chamber, and the Trump administration issued a statement suggesting that the president would veto the bill.
We stand with the Fight For Freelancers USA coalition in urging federal lawmakers to VOTE NO ON THE PRO ACT as long as it contains the language of the ABC test.