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NAHB Key Vote: How Your Lawmakers Voted on the PRO Act Bill

February 10, 2020

As you may have seen, NAHB recently asked members to contact their lawmakers in opposition of H.R. 2474, Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This legislation contains dozens of sweeping labor law revisions that would negatively affect the construction labor market at a time of critical skilled worker shortages and gut the contracting business model that serves as the foundation of the residential construction sector.

While the PRO Act contains many provisions harmful to labor-management relations, NAHB is most alarmed by its codification of a broad joint employer standard and federal adoption of the rigid “ABC” test for determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. These provisions will stifle entrepreneurship and competition in the home building industry.

Builders rely on an average of 22 subcontracting firms to build a home, including framers, roofers, electricians, and other types of specialty trades. For most, there is simply insufficient internal demand to justify hiring an employee for the numerous specialized tasks required to complete a project. At the same time, independent contracting offers many workers in the construction sector the flexibility and opportunity to start a business and work for oneself.

An expanded joint employer test will deter the use of these specialized subcontractors and independent contractors by exposing builders to unlimited and unpredictable employment liability. In contrast, the adoption of a federal “ABC” test will narrow the circumstances under which an individual can work as an independent contractor and add unnecessary confusion onto an already complicated employment classification system. This will drive up labor costs in construction, hurting small businesses and consumers while further pushing the dream of homeownership out of reach for many Americans.

This legislation is a priority for organized labor and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the largest federation of unions in the United States, President Trumka didn’t mince words. To Democrats who didn’t support it: “Those who would oppose, delay or derail this legislation, do not ask us — do not ask the labor movement — for a dollar or a door knock,” Trumka said. “We won’t be coming.”

Members of our W.A. State delegation voted on party lines on the measure, which has passed the House and is expected to die in the Senate. Thank you to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) for voting against this harmful resolution.

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