The House narrowly passed a mostly Democratic measure Tuesday that promises to reinvigorate union activity across senior living communities and elsewhere. But as things now stand, the proposal is unlikely to survive a Senate test.
Does that mean operators can rest easy? Not exactly.
Specifically, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would terminate so-called Right to Work laws across the country while easing organizing rules. The measure also would prevent operators from replacing employees who go on strike. Further, it would let the National Labor Relations Board inflict civil monetary penalties on firms that violate workers’ rights.
President Joe Biden enthusiastically backs the legislation. But even that support is unlikely to nudge the measure through the upper chamber, at least for now. Republicans mostly remain opposed and can be expected to use the filibuster, if necessary, to keep the bill in check. Most business groups, and for that matter, senior living organizations, similarly are unimpressed.
In a statement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicted that the measure would “destabilize America’s workplaces and impose a long list of dangerous changes to labor law.”
But the bill is not quite dead on arrival. There is a chance — slim though it may be — that Senate Democrats will enact filibuster reform. Which is a polite way of saying they might eliminate the filibuster.
Should that scenario play out, the measure would then need only 50 votes to pass. At which point, operators would be advised to break out the worry beads.