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House praised for passing pro-worker PRO Act

Photo credit: Getty
By AFSCME Staff ·

Following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued a statement saying, “When working people have the freedom to join a union, they have the voice on the job they need to get more for themselves, their families and their communities.”

The PRO Act would unrig the system and neutralize unscrupulous employers who resort to coercion, intimidation tactics and threats of retaliation to prevent workers from organizing. Recently, Amazon workers in Alabama who have been attempting to organize have faced such tactics, including being bombarded with anti-union propaganda in the bathrooms, being called out by co-workers and having their badges photographed.

“You shouldn’t fear for your job simply for exercising the right to band together in the workplace,” Saunders said.

The PRO Act would strengthen the law to create accountability for union-busting tactics. Unionization efforts shouldn’t merely be accepted or tolerated. Rather, as President Joe Biden recently said, the National Labor Relations Act requires employers to encourage unionization. The union difference was even recently touted by Meghan Markle, who told Oprah Winfrey: “In my old job, there was a union, and they would protect me.”

“The union difference is undeniable,” Saunders said. “Union members earn higher wages, enjoy superior health benefits and have greater retirement security. Unions empower women and workers of color.”

During this pandemic, with our front-line heroes confronting a faltering economy, deep budget cuts and dangerous working conditions, the rights and protections of a union are more important than ever. Union strength and solidarity were absolutely essential to building majority support for the American Rescue Plan – the sweeping COVID relief bill that’s on the verge of passing Congress.

In addition to pushing for the Senate to the pass the PRO Act, AFSCME is also fighting for Congress to consider the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would guarantee collective bargaining rights for all public service workers nationwide.

“These long-overdue labor law reforms will allow millions more people to experience the power of the union difference,” said Saunders. “They will level the playing field for workers, grow the middle class and help build an inclusive economy that works for everyone.”

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