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Throughout my entire career, I have been a champion for the working men and women of this country.

As one of eight children born to migrant farm workers, I am committed to standing up for workers.

Over the last two years, I have had a 100 percent rating by the National Education Association, a 79 percent rating from American Federation of Government Employees, an 80 percent rating from the Communications Workers of America, and an 80 percent rating from the National Treasury Employees Union.

I agree with the goals of the PRO Act, but we have major philosophical differences on how to approach the economic problems we see today. The legislation eliminates all state Right-to-Work laws, including in Texas, which protect workers in more than half the country against being fired if they decline to pay union dues. This is not the right approach.

While well-intentioned, this legislation falls short in several areas, and the reality is that the 28th Congressional District of Texas will lose thousands of jobs if this bill becomes law. Specifically, in the area of franchising, the PRO Act effectively eliminates the opportunity for entrepreneurs to achieve the American dream by opening and operating a franchise business.

In my district there are over 1,000 franchise establishments that provide over 12,000 jobs. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience vote to put over 12,000 of my friends and neighbors out of work. My constituents sent me to Washington to champion their interests, not vote the party line.

Furthermore, the economic impact of franchises is staggering: there are 733,000 franchised establishments in the Unites States, directly creating 7.6 million jobs and indirectly supports 13.3 million jobs that contribute $404.6 billion to the US GDP. That is why I submitted a bipartisan amendment with 12 co-sponsors that will protect franchises in my district, which play a key role in our economy. I offer realistic, common-sense economic solutions.

Rest assured I will continue to be a champion for the rights of workers everywhere while supporting policies that help my districts robust economy thrive. We need to find a balance between business and unions.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is based on the remarks Congressman Cuellar gave when explaining his opposition to H.R. 2474, the “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act”. The bill is authored by U.S. Robert ‘Bobby’ C. Scott, D-Virginia.

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