The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would reform labor laws and give workers more power to organize after decades of setbacks to unions.
The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, also known as the PRO Act, was previously passed by the House in early 2020 but the Senate, then under Republican control, failed to take it up.
The House passed it again Tuesday with a vote of 225-206, largely along party lines. Five Republicans voted for the bill and one Democrat opposed the PRO Act
“By passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act today, the House has taken a critical step to secure workers’ right to join a union,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.)
“Labor unions are essential to rebuilding America’s middle class and improving the lives of workers and their families. Unfortunately, over the past 70 years, union membership has dropped to the lowest level since just after the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was first enacted. This decline is not a result of workers’ choices. It is plainly obvious that the NLRA is too weak to defend workers’ rights against intensifying anti-union attacks from wealthy special interests.
“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act makes the most significant upgrades to the NLRA in 85 years by providing new tools to protect workers from intimidation and retaliation, introducing meaningful penalties for companies that violate workers’ rights, and allowing workers to hold free, fair, and safe union elections.”
The PRO Act would protect the right to organize and collectively bargain by:
- Bolstering remedies and punishing violations of workers’ rights through authorizing meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights, strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights, and authorizing a private right of action for violation of workers’ rights.
- Strengthening workers’ right to join together and negotiate for better working conditions by enhancing workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect “fair share” fees, modernizing the union election process, and facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements.
- Restoring fairness to an economy rigged against workers by closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors and increasing transparency in labor-management relations.