America COMPETES Act
*Updated on 2/2/22*
Bill name: America COMPETES Act, HR 4521
Summary: The America COMPETES Act is intended to support domestic manufacturing and bolster our critical supply chain. Within the bill, however, are requirements for some federal grant or loan programs that private sector construction companies must accept card check union organizing in some cases and remain neutral to union organizing in others. During a union organizing campaign, card check and union neutrality agreements expose workers to intimidation tactics rather than using a secret ballot election.
Manager’s Amendment to America COMPETES Act Contains Card Check and Mandatory Arbitration of CBA Terms:
A late amendment was added by the rule to the America COMPETES Act, offered by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), to require card check and binding arbitration as a condition of receiving funds from certain construction grant and loan programs within the bill. Card check is a union organizing tactic that exposes workers to intimidation tactics to publicly sign a union card rather than using a secret ballot election. Under binding arbitration, employers and employees would be forced into a union contract at the hands of third-party arbitrators, even if one of the parties never agreed to arbitration. Card check and binding arbitration are long sought-after union priorities, previously seen in the PRO Act and, years ago, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.
Neutrality Requirements in America COMPETES Act:
SEC. 20204: CRITICAL SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIANCE PROGRAM
- This section creates a new $45 billion fund for grants, loans, or loan guarantees to support production of critical goods, industrial equipment, and manufacturing technologies important to the needs of the United States Government to maintain the supply chain and domestic manufacturing.
- To be eligible for a grant, loan, or loan guarantee under this program, the recipient is required to “remain neutral in any union organizing effort for the term of the grant, loan, or loan guarantee” or maintain any existing collective bargaining agreement during the life of the loan and for two years after completing repayment of the loan (page 730).
SEC. 20302: SOLAR COMPONENT MANUFACTURING SUPPLY CHAIN ASSISTANCE
- This section creates a new $600 million per year grant and loan program for support construction of solar components and retooling or expanding existing facilities that manufacture solar components.
- The original bill text would have required a recipient of these grants or loans to “remain neutral with respect to the exercise of employees and labor organizations of the right to organize and bargain under the [NLRA].” However that has been expanded by the Manager’s amendment to require chard check and binding arbitration, as noted above (page 789).
Wage Requirements in America COMPETES Act:
- There are also prevailing wage requirements in the bill text, as introduced. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), sponsor of the Davis-Bacon Repeal Act, has described prevailing wage requirements as “how big government hurts the people it purports to help, gives unfair advantages to favored special interests, and squeezes the middle class.”
- Scott Perry (R-PA) has an amendment for the House floor to strike the prevailing wage requirements from construction projects funded under the semiconductor incentives program within the bill. He and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) also introduced amendments to eliminate prevailing wage requirements from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund and microelectronics R&D program. However, those amendments were blocked by the House Rules Committee.
BLOG: What You Should Know About Democrats’ America CONCEDES Act
February 2, 2022
Committee on Education and Labor Republicans
BLOG: Pelosi’s “China Bill” Prioritizes Woke, Leftist Agenda Over U.S. Competitiveness
February 1, 2022
Isabelle Morales, Americans for Tax Reform
REPORT: Protecting the Secret Ballot: The Dangers of Union Card Check
October 22, 2019
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy