Legislative Alert

Letter Supporting the PRO Act

Dear Senator:

On February 14, we wrote in support of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (S. 567), which would restore the original intent of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to give working people a voice on the job to negotiate for higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces. We write today to redouble our request and to urge opposition to any amendment that would weaken the rights and protections offered by the PRO Act. We ask that the HELP Committee advance this legislation as-introduced for consideration by the full Senate.

Now is the time to pass the PRO Act. For too long, employers have been allowed to violate workers’ rights with impunity because the law includes no penalties for doing so. As a result, workers’ ability to negotiate for better pay and benefits has eroded and income inequality has reached levels we have not seen since the Great Depression.

The PRO Act will level the playing field to give workers a fair shot when fighting for improvements on the job. The bill modernizes the NLRA by bringing its remedies in line with other workplace laws. The bill imposes real financial penalties on companies and individual corporate officers who violate the law and gives workers the option of bringing their case to federal court.

The bill would also make union elections fairer by prohibiting employers from requiring their employees to attend “captive audience” meetings, a common tactic whereby employers present anti-union propaganda to pressure workers to vote against the union. In addition, the bill would ensure that employees are not deprived of the right to a union because an employer deliberately misclassifies them as supervisors or independent contractors.

Too often, when workers choose to form a union, employers stall the bargaining process to avoid reaching an agreement. The PRO Act would establish a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract. This important change would make the freedom to negotiate a reality for countless workers who form unions but never get to enjoy the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement due to employers’ intentional delays.

Finally, the bill would eliminate “right to work” laws. These laws, steeped in a history of racism, are promoted by billionaires and special interest groups to give more power to corporations at the expense of workers, and have the effect of lowering wages and eroding pensions and health care coverage in states where they have been adopted.

Restoring our middle class depends on strengthening the collective power of workers to negotiate for better pay and working conditions. This is why public support for unions is the highest it has been in decades. We urge you to support the PRO Act, oppose all weakening amendments, and help us build an economy that works for all working families.

William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs