By Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), House Majority Leader
Over the past three years, we’ve watched the Trump Administration take a hatchet to decades of advancements in workers’ rights. From the denial of overtime pay to gutting the Department of Labor, from helping employers undermine unions to targeting federal employees and contractors, this President has pursued a vicious anti-worker agenda since day-one in office. However, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Republican presidents and Congresses have been working to erode workers’ rights for more than a generation. That’s why I will soon be bringing to the House Floor major legislation to restore and expand protections for American workers who wish to organize and bargain collectively.
H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, was introduced by Chairman Bobby Scott of the Education and Labor Committee and now has broad support among House Democrats. This legislation will make significant and positive changes that will empower workers to unionize and help unions more effectively advocate for their members. That’s why I’m proud to support it and bring it to the Floor for a vote.
First, the PRO Act bans employers from forcing workers to participate in anti-union activities, a common tactic used to undermine organizing. Furthermore, this bill would end the practice of management using workers’ classification to affect union eligibility and deny workers the pay and benefits they are due. The PRO Act also prevents employers from hiring permanent replacements for striking workers, empowering unions in negotiations on their members’ behalf.
Additionally, the PRO Act restores the mission of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has been subverted by President Trump to enact anti-labor policies. Along with permitting the NLRB to engage in economic analysis for the first time – in order to ensure that its assessments are supported by its own findings and not outside groups’ partisan agendas – the PRO Act reverses the Trump NLRB’s recent decision that harmed workers employed jointly by more than one employer. These steps will once again make the NLRB an advocate for workers and not an opponent.
I’ve been proud to support organized labor throughout my career in public service. That’s because I continue to believe strongly in the necessity of strong unions if we are to have a strong economy that helps working families get ahead. Representing more than 62,000 federal employees in Maryland’s Fifth District, I work especially closely with AFGE, NTEU, and other unions representing federal workers. I’m very proud of our work last year to win twelve weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees for the first time in our history. That’s just the beginning, and I’m going to keep pushing for full paid family and medical leave benefits for all workers. The Democratic-led House Majority has also passed key legislation to raise wages and expand opportunity, and we will continue to deliver when it comes to the priorities of working men and women.
If we are going to succeed in growing our economy and maintaining it as the most competitive in the world – if we are going to keep the American Dream alive for workers and their families – we must have strong unions that can stand up for their members. That’s why the PRO Act is so critical and why the House must consider it. I look forward to bringing it to the Floor as Majority Leader and to casting my vote in favor of its passage. Together, we can ensure that the march for workers’ rights moves ever forward, not backward.