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  • Stop Biting the Hand that Feeds Us

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    It looks like the world is finally getting back to normal. Unfortunately, our “normal” means attacking businesses.

    Businesses need relief. They have been struggling to push forward in the face of unprecedented obstacles and blatant hostility, oftentimes coming from elected officials who ignore constant advocacy efforts from the business community. These attacks are under cover of clever titles and artificially positive and popular words, but it is time to expose them for what they really are.

    One of these attacks is the PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act, which has once again been introduced in Congress. This bill is a litany of every failed attempt from the past 30 years of labor policy, packaged nicely into a catchy title. Unfortunately, the PRO Act is not as it seems on the surface, as it will undermine workers’ rights, ensnare employees, eliminate independent contracting, and disrupt the economy. Furthermore, it would affect the ability of businesses to continue to work with a certain level of transparency, trust, and respect between employees and employers.

    With a blatant anti-worker and anti-business agenda, the PRO Act will grant unions more unchecked power at the expense of workers and businesses. We cannot sit idly by as Congress stacks the deck against workers, small businesses, and the stabilization of the economy.

    This anti-business legislation is not solely introduced at the federal level, though. In Sacramento, we are seeing Assembly Bill 20, deceptively titled the “Corporate-Free Elections Act.” AB 20 would eliminate the freedom of businesses to contribute to our political process, silencing the voices of the business community. Although the bill parades itself as campaign reform, the only thing it reforms is the manner by which businesses can speak out against oppressive laws.

    Even further, AB 20 would hinder businesses from making donations, yet allows union donations to continue flowing through. Essentially, it would silence one voice to make another louder. This influence from unions would not make elections any “cleaner.” It will just make them more unfair.

    This, paired with requirements in the PRO Act that essentially require all employees to pay union dues, will feed unions and make them the only voice, drowning out millions of Americans that just want thoughtful policies and good jobs. Union leaders have always claimed to be fighting for a “more level playing field”, but these policies will tilt the playing field dramatically.

    Under AB 20, Political Action Committee donations will also still be allowed. I don’t know about you, but I happen to want to know where election money is coming from, rather than forcing businesses to move their donations PACS.

    This is all part of an ongoing trend. Businesses are often given a hard time, and every effort to make meaningful change seems to get dismissed. Businesses are not just a part of our communities – they are our communities. They drive our local economies, fundraise for our local schools, and provide the jobs that keep our families thriving. Businesses aren’t trying to attack people. It is exactly the opposite. Our businesses are fighting to keep our communities, our livelihoods, and the American Dream alive.

    The pandemic gave businesses some solace from the constant barrage of attacks, but it seems that we are back to our original fight. One can only imagine why our leaders would want to enact these obviously damaging pieces of legislation at the precise time when businesses, jobs, and economic stimulus are needed most. 

    We need to stop biting the hand that feeds our economy. There is only so much the business community can take. It is not the time to pass these blatant attacks, nor will it ever be.


    Stuart Waldman is president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a business advocacy organization based in Van Nuys that represents employers in the San Fernando Valley at the local, state and federal levels of government.


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