COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is leading the fight against a congressional bill considered to be pro-union.
Wilson, a Republican who has served as the state’s attorney general since 2010, is the lead author of a 14-state letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), ranking Republican on the committee. The letter was written in response to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, also known as the PRO Act.
The other states represented in the letter are Nebraska, Georgia, Florida. Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri and Utah.
That act passed the House March 9 on a largely partisan vote — all but one Democrat voted in favor of the bill and all but five Republican voted against — House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn voted with the Democrats in favor of the bill and Tom Rice voted against the bill. It has been referred to the Senate committee chaired by Murray.
A section of the act would require employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement to contribute to the representing labor organization, effectively nullifying the “right to work” laws in 27 states including South Carolina.
“A majority of states have laws that protect someone’s right to work without being forced to join a labor union,” Wilson said. “This bill would negate those laws and make it much easier to force employees to join unions and pay dues in order to keep their jobs. Coercion to join a labor union is reprehensible and should not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form.”
Wilson argues in the letter that unions have long fought right-to-work laws, but the Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected union arguments that tried to overturn them.
He adds that the attorneys general are responsible for upholding the laws in their states, including laws that guard the freedom of employees to keep their jobs regardless of whether they pay union dues and that the act would abruptly end 75 years of freedom by ending right-to-work laws in 27 states.
“Accordingly, we respectfully urge Congress not to enact the PRO Act, particularly those provisions negating the Right-to-Work Laws,” Wilson says in the letter.