WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces.
“Honoring the Dignity of Work starts with honoring the rights of working people to start or join a union,” said Brown. “We cannot address inequality in this country until workers get more power in the workplace. Especially now, with workers fearing for their health and economic security amid a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, we must recommit to the rights of all workers to band together and fight for better pay, safe working conditions and a fair share of the wealth they help create."
The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that our economy is benefitting the biggest corporations and wealthiest individuals—while failing workers, and in particular women and workers of color. While wages are stagnant for the bottom 50% of workers, the top one percent of earners have seen their wages grow by 205 percent. This worsening income inequality has the deepest impact on women and workers of color, who disproportionately have jobs with lower wages and fewer, if any, benefits..
Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality—with studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace. The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.
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.
In addition to Senators Brown, Murray and Schumer, the PRO Act is co-sponsored by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Duckworth (D-IL), Booker (D-NJ), Warren (D-MA), Wyden (D-OR), Gillibrand (D-NY), Cantwell (D-WA), Murphy (D-CT), Hassan (D-NH), Casey (D-PA), Cardin (D-MD), Merkley (D-OR), Whitehouse (D-RI), Reed (D-RI), Durbin (D-IL), Kaine (D-VA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Luján (D-NM), Menendez (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI), Sanders (I-VT), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Van Hollen (D-MD), Markey (D-MA), Heinrich (D-NM), Hirono (D-HI), Schatz (D-HI), Smith (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Carper (D-DE), Bennet (D-CO), Stabenow (D-MI), Coons (D-NE), Rosen (D-NV), Tester (D-MT), Peters (D-MI), Shaheen (D-NH) and Padilla (D-CA).
To read the fact sheet of the PRO Act, click HERE.
To read the section by section on the PRO Act, click HERE.
To read the full text of the PRO Act, click HERE.