A bipartisan group of House and Senate members introduced the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2023 (H.R. 20). A comprehensive proposal to protect workers’ right to come together and bargain for higher wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces.
The House bill was introduced by the Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01). The Senate companion was introduced by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
The PRO Act, now named in honor of the late AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, would give unions and employers the ability to override state-level right-to-work laws, enhance strike protections, and ban employers from holding captive audience meetings.
As well, the PRO Act would increase remedies for violations of workers’ rights, enhance workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensure unions can collect fair share fees, modernize union elections, and facilitate initial collective bargaining agreements. The legislation would also make it more difficult for employers to classify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors, designations that would keep them from being covered under the National Labor Relations Act.
“With the re-introduction of the PRO Act, members of Congress face a choice,” said Everett Kelley, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President. “Legislators can stand with American workers whose legal rights are being trampled by private employers to the detriment of the nation. Or they can stand with the ultra-wealthy elites whose status depends on the continued oppression and exploitation of working-class Americans.”
In introducing the legislation, Ranking Member Scott said, “unions are essential for building a strong middle class and improving the lives of workers and families. Regrettably, for too long, workers have suffered from anti-union attacks and toothless labor laws that undermined their right to form a union.”
Congressman Fitzpatrick called it “landmark legislation” that will “promote tremendous progress for workers’ empowerment and the economy.”
The PRO Act protects the basic right to join a union by:
1\. Empowering workers to exercise their right to organize;
2\. Holding employers accountable for violating workers’ rights; and
3\. Securing free, fair, and safe union elections.
“The PRO Act is how we level the playing field. It is how we stop the intimidation, the lies,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “This is how we let workers, not wealthy corporations, decide for themselves if they want the power of a union.”
To show your support and tell Congress to Pass the PRO Act, sign the AFL-CIO’s petition at https://proact.aflcio.org/. ■