On Friday, February 7 the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act with a final vote count of 224 in favor of the law, 194 opposed. Oregon’s Congressional delegates voted along party lines with one exception: Congressman Kurt Schrader did not vote to support the PRO Act, joining Republican Congressman Greg Walden. Our remaining Congressional Representatives all co-sponsored this important bill.
Oregon’s unions express thanks to Representatives Bonamici, Blumenauer and DeFazio for standing with working people.
Congressman Schrader’s vote against the PRO Act was not unexpected, given the Congressman’s record on worker issues but Oregon’s unions hoped he would change his mind. That’s why for the past several months union members in his Congressional District mobilized to call out Congressman Schrader on his stance against the PRO Act. Here are some highlights of our campaign:
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIONS
The first stage of our campaign was online: through the Oregon AFL-CIO and Marion-Polk-Yamhill Central Labor Chapter Facebook pages we posted online actions which generated over 100 letters to Congressman Schrader.
Local union members submitted letters to the editors of local newspapers in Congressman’s Schrader’s district, including this one (scroll down to find the letter, titled “Plea for Rep. Schrader's support”). In addition to letters to the editor, Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor penned a guest opinion in the Salem Statesman Journal calling attention to Congressman Schrader’s opposition to the PRO act:
Congressman Schrader is the only Democrat in our Congressional delegation who has not co-sponsored H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
The PRO Act strengthens protections for workers forming a union, increases penalties for corporations that break the law and violate workers’ rights, prevents misclassification of workers as independent contractors, protects strikes and protest activities, and more. It would also undo so-called “right to work” laws that are in place in 27 states and severely limit workers’ voices on the job.
INFORMATIONAL PICKETING & LETTER DELIVERY
Leaders from the Marion-Polk-Yamhill Central Labor Chapter and local unions delivered letters to Congressman Schrader’s district office calling on him to stand with working people. Days before the House voted on the PRO Act, an informational picket was held to generate more public attention.
In the end, Congressman Schrader sided against working people and did not vote for the PRO Act. We have opportunities in the near future to continue to hold Congressman Schrader accountable for his vote and will continue to push for labor law reform at every step.