DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, criticized the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act introduced by House Democrats on a press call Friday morning. Hinson said the bill is a “gift to union bosses.”
She also discussed the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill, as well as two bills that she introduced.
The PRO Act was initially introduced in 2019 by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., that passed in 2020 by the U.S. House of Representatives 224 to 194, but was not considered by the U.S. Senate.
The PRO Act:
- Introduces new mandates and restrictions for employers and gives the National Labor Relations Board the ability to penalize employers deemed to have violated workers’ rights.
- Relaxes restrictions on strikes, giving employees more power to strike.
- Weakens right-to-work laws adopted by 27 states, including Iowa, that prevent workers from having to join a union or pay dues as a condition for employment.
- Reduces the use of the independent contractor classification, requiring more of these workers to be classified as employees, following California’s lead that critics say will destroy the gig economy.
- Requires companies to provide employee personal information to unions.
“This bill would kill jobs in Iowa, and across the country, it would remove Right to Work laws adopted by 27 states, including Iowa, that protect workers’ freedom to choose whether or not they’d want to join a union. It’s not a condition of employment,” Hinson stated.
“I see this bill as a real gift to Union bosses, who would really hurt workers in Iowa, and it would slow down economic growth at a time when we need it most,” she added.
Federal law already guarantees and employees the right to organize.
Hinson also discussed legislation she recently introduced, like the Reopen Schools Act that Democrats rejected.
“Students and parents are obviously struggling with virtual learning, especially in rural areas. Many of those rural areas are right in Iowa. And access to working computers with broadband is still a struggle for many families. I’m hearing from people who are still sitting in parking lots of the libraries trying to get the Wi-Fi to get through the school day,” she said.
“So the key is really, again, giving parents the option to do what’s right for their families, whether it’s staying virtual and making that decision or sending their kids to learn in person. I would also say that this bill that I filed or introduced this week is a taxpayer accountability issue. Congress really intended these (CARES Act) funds to be used to reopen schools, and that’s what they should be used for. So I took my bill to the floor this week on Tuesday and asked for it to be considered for a vote. Unfortunately, the Democrats shot it down. But we are working on it, and we are gaining additional support for the bill. So hopefully, we can start working in a bipartisan manner to get our kids back to school safely,” Hinson said.
She also discussed a bill she introduced with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., called the Vaccinated Americans, Not Terrorists Act.
Hinson cited the news that COVID-19 vaccine doses would be shipped to Guantanamo Bay to administer to detainees there.
“Well, Americans were waiting to get their vaccines. So my bill prohibits the federal government from sending doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, any of them, to Gitmo while there are any outstanding requests from American citizens. And so I’m glad the administration paused the proposal,” she said.
“But I want to be very clear that cops in Cedar Rapids, teachers in Dubuque, and nurses in Waterloo should be getting the vaccine before a terrorist at Gitmo,” Hinson stated.
Hinson, who serves on the House Budget Committee, also criticized the budget resolution that passed in the House this week 218 to 212. She says it will allow the COVID-19 relief package to go through without Republican input.
“Typically, committee members, and therefore their constituents, would be able to provide input before a resolution will be considered by the whole House. But, unfortunately, Democrats didn’t allow Republicans to have input this week, and they really crafted it in backrooms. And as a result, the resolution will allow major legislation to move forward along partisan lines, namely the administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. It provides a way for Congress and the administration to enact liberal wish list items like a blue state bailout to the tune of $350 billion,” she said.
Hinson also said she would fight to keep a federal $15/hour minimum wage hike from being added to the relief package.
“I want to get people the relief that they need. But the common theme on the ground, everywhere I went last week, was that a $15 minimum wage would kill Iowa’s businesses. It might be right for a blue state like California or New York or Illinois, but it is not right for our state,” she said.