WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 728) and the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2023 (S. 567) by votes of 11-10 and 11-10, respectively.

The PRO Act would overturn right-to-work laws in 27 states forcing non-union workers to pay union dues to support causes and candidates they oppose. The PRO Act will also reduce independent contract work across the country by adopting a stringent test (an ABC test adopted by California in Assembly Bill 5) for determining if a worker is an independent contractor.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would increase government oversight over businesses’ compensation decisions.

Patrice Onwuka, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement: 

“Today, the Senate HELP Committee greenlighted two labor bills that are rotten to the core. 

“Paycheck Fairness would not outlaw sex-based discrimination; sex discrimination in employment and pay is already illegal thanks to the Equal Pay Act (1963) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Trial lawyers stand to gain the most from the Paycheck Fairness Act as it clears the way for more class-action lawsuits delivering them big paydays. Meanwhile, employers would have to prove that they do not pay men and women differently, meaning they will be less likely to negotiate flexibility and other benefits that a female employee may want.

Flexibility is also on the chopping block with the PRO Act. This bill is anti-woman and anti-worker. By implementing California-style restrictions on independent contractors, the PRO Act will spread California-level hardship to the rest of the country. Many women prefer independent contracting because of the flexibility it provides to work around other priorities such as raising children, caregiving, and managing their own health conditions. Congress should not be in the business of putting freelancers and small businesses out of work.”

Gabriella Hoffman, an independent contractor and IWF senior fellow, added, “The PRO Act, if passed and implemented, would displace millions of successful independent contractors—especially women—from the workforce. 

“Labor policies should reflect the times. Today’s economy is trending nontraditional and flexible, not back to traditional 9-to-5 and unionized jobs.  

“Workers should have choices and not be coerced into unfavorable, constrictive job arrangements in the present day.”

Karen Anderson, IWF storyteller and founder of Freelancers Against AB5, said, “​Nationally, the slippery slope toward the extinction of independent contractors begins with the PRO Act, which seeks to overhaul the National Labor Relations Act with the same strict ABC worker classification test that is causing so much damage in California via the disastrous AB-5 law. 

“Should the PRO Act pass, the results would be devastating not only for independent professionals but for franchisees, small business owners and fledgling entrepreneurs as well.”

Jennifer O’Connell, a writer, reinvention coach, yoga instructor, and IWF storyteller, added “The PRO Act is representative of policies that seek to kill the independent contractor model and destroy the freedom of choice for all Americans. With Julie Su’s flagging nomination to become Secretary of Labor and the unpopularity of the independent contractor rule and other changes that punish the worker and professional, the Senate is back to trying to enact misleadingly-named legislation to compensate for what they could not do with regulation.“The fact that they are attempting to reintroduce this twice-failed legislation proves that the Democrat-run Senate is determined to undermine the economic futures of the American people in favor of their Labor Union benefactors who want a government-controlled and manufactured workforce rather than the ingenuity and innovation that comes from the ability to build and create your own future. This must be stopped.”



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.

Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) aims to educate the public about how government policies impact people’s opportunities for economic development and upward mobility.