As former President Trump often stated, elections have consequences.

An undeniable consequence of the November elections is that Democrats now rule the roost in Washington. And it appears that one of their first orders of business is to rebalance labor relations — and not in ways most managers are likely to welcome.

Last week, House Democrats reintroduced the Protecting the Rights to Organize Act. Generally speaking, the legislation makes it easier for workers to organize and strike — and harder for employers to prevent either activity from happening. The measure would do so by, among other things, reinstalling “quickie” elections, ending right to work laws, prohibiting “captive audience” meetings, and preventing striker replacements. To see an excellent overview by JD Supra, please click here.

House Democrats actually introduced the PRO Act last year. But the measure stalled in the Senate, which at the time was controlled by Republicans.

The 2021 version has support from unions, congressional Democrats and President Biden. Conversely, organizations usually associated with management are not nearly as smitten.

“This legislation strips workers of their privacy, threatens private ballots, imposes California’s disastrous independent contractor test, jeopardizes employers’ right to free speech, and threatens the loss of a job should workers choose not to pay union dues,” said Glenn Spencer, a spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He called the bill “a grab-bag of harmful policies that would deprive millions of workers of their privacy and fundamentally alter our nation’s system of labor relations.”

If this back-and-forth kabuki dance looks familiar, it should. In the winner-take-all world of lawmaking now in vogue, each side tends to impose its will once in power. That is, until the opposition regains control and turns things around 180 degrees. As vicious cycles go, this one seems to be getting particularly nasty.

In a gentler time, it sometimes was said that politics is the art of compromise. These days, such sentiment seems to be little more than a quaint notion. It’s a bit unfair to simply blame elected officials for the intransigence now in style. For the most part, politicians are simply carrying out the wishes of those they serve. In truth, a deeper problem is at play.

We as a nation have become so divided and dug in, the middle ground doesn’t seem to have much of a chance, no matter the issue. As a result, political and policy victories tend to be short lived at best. Meanwhile, old battles continue to be fought again and again and again. 

Some might call this the price of progress. To me, it looks more like building castles in the sand.

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