For Immediate Release
Contact: Natalia Pérez Santos

Saunders: PRO Act would empower workers, unrig the system, encourage unionization

AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act:

“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 help unrig the system and neutralize unscrupulous employers who use coercion, intimidation tactics and retaliatory threats against workers trying to organize. You shouldn’t fear for your job simply for exercising the right to band together in the workplace. In the ongoing organizing campaign at an Amazon facility in Alabama, employees are bombarded with propaganda – even in the bathroom – and outspoken workers are called out in front of their co-workers and have their badges photographed.

“The PRO Act would strengthen the law to create accountability for these union-busting stunts. As President Joe Biden recently said, the National Labor Relations Act mandates that we not just tolerate or accept unionization, but actively encourage it. Even Meghan Markle told Oprah, ‘In my old job, there was a union, and they would protect me.’

“The union difference is undeniable. 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 the most dangerous possible working conditions, the rights and protections of a union are more important than ever. And union strength and solidarity were absolutely essential to building majority support for the American Rescue Plan – the sweeping, transformative COVID relief bill on the cusp of passing Congress and providing an economic lifeline to hundreds of millions of people.

“AFSCME will continue the fight for the PRO Act, as well as 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. They will level the playing field for workers, grow the middle class and help build an inclusive economy that works for everyone.”