Independent Grocers Decry House Passage of PRO Labor Legislation

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Independent Grocers Decry House Passage of PRO Labor Legislation

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 02/07/2020
Independent Grocers Decry House Passage of PRO Labor Legislation
Picketers in Westborough, Mass., during the Stop & Shop associates' strike last year. Independents worry that a bill passed by the House of Representatives would infringe on workers' and employers' rights in labor matters

Independent grocers have expressed disappointment at the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474) by the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 6.

“America’s independent grocers are working hard every day to spur local economic growth and create jobs within their communities,” noted Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent grocery sector. “The PRO Act drastically overturns decades of U.S. labor policy and tilts the scales heavily in favor of Big Labor against Main Street and entrepreneurial businesses.”

Ferrara added that the legislation “severely infring[es] the rights of workers and their employers. This undemocratic bill takes away workers’ right to a private union election ballot and denies employers’ right to free speech and advice of counsel, while also compromising employees’ right to privacy. Legislation, such as the PRO Act that picks winners and losers and takes away rights of employers and employees, is a major step in the wrong direction.”

According to NGA, the PRO Act would also make such major changes to long-established employment law as eliminating right-to-work laws in 27 states, limiting work for independent contractors and requiring employers to provide employee records to unions.

The organization sent a letter ahead of the vote, urging House members not to support the bill, and encouraged independents supermarket operators across the United States to contact their representatives to ask them to vote against it.

The International Foodservice Distributors Association, based in McLean, Va., also voiced its opposition to the legislation, which it said “will trample on the rights of American workers and companies.”