We have a chance to pass the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, H.R. 2474 and, in turn, bring comprehensive labor law reform forward to empower and protect working people. This critical legislation allows workers to join together in the workplace to negotiate a fair return on their work and to hold their employers accountable.
THANK YOU TO REPRESENTATIVES BONAMICI, BLUMENAUER AND DEFAZIO WHO HAVE COMMITTED TO SUPPORT THIS CRITICAL REFORM TO LABOR LAW. Here in Oregon, only one Democratic member of our Congressional Representatives has vowed to NOT support comprehensive labor law reform through the PRO Act: Congressman Kurt Schrader, CD-5. Let’s send Congressman Schrader a message: We expect better from you. We expect our representatives in Washington DC to recognize that the best way to turn back the tide of a corporate, profits-driven agenda is to remove legal obstacles in the path toward joining a union. IF YOU LIVE IN CONGRESSMAN SCHRADER’S DISTRICT, OR ARE NOT SURE IF DO, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEND A LETTER TO HIM. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN CONGRESSMAN SCHRADER’S DISTRICT, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP. The labor movement and all working people are hungry for pro-worker reforms to our existing labor laws. Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing income inequality, and the PRO Act does this. It also addresses so many more ways to improve outdated labor laws by:
Authorizing penalties and creating a real deterrent for employers who break the law. Under current law, employers are not subject to financial penalties for violating the NLRA. The PRO Act would bring the NLRA in line with other workplace laws by allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to assess civil penalties for serious offenses.
Strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights. In 34% of organizing campaigns, working people are fired for exercising their rights to form a union. The PRO Act would require the NLRB to seek immediate reinstatement if it finds cause to believe they were illegally terminated.
Preventing employers from interfering in union elections. Workers should be able to decide free from employer intimidation whether they want to form a union.The PRO Act prohibits employers from holding mandatory anti-union meetings and engaging in other coercive tactics.
Protecting the right to strike. Congress gave workers the right to strike, but the courts gutted the protection by permitting employers to permanently replace them. The PRO Act bars companies from firing striking workers during lawful strikes.
Safeguarding workers’ access to justice. Current law prohibits workers from taking their complaints to court. The PRO Act allows workers to go to court to enforce their rights if the NLRB does not act promptly.
Ensuring unions can collect “fair share” fees. “Right to work” laws require unions to absorb the cost of representing every worker at a worksite, even if they are not members. The PRO Act would allow unions to reach an agreement in all states to collect a fair share fee from all workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements. Fifty-two percent of newly formed unions don’t get a collective bargaining agreement during the first year because employers drag their feet in negotiations. The PRO Act would provide mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract and thereby preserve labor peace.
Preventing employers from misclassifying workers as supervisors or independent contractors. Countless workers are intentionally misclassified as independent contractors or low-level supervisors so their employers can avoid complying with basic labor laws, including the right to have a union. The PRO Act would apply simple tests to make sure workers are properly classified so they can exercise their basic rights.
Permitting employees to act in solidarity. Current law allows employers to fire employees who act in solidarity with those they work with or supply materials to, simply because they work for another employer. The PRO Act would protect such “secondary” picketing and striking.
THE PRO ACT IS A HISTORIC PROPOSAL THAT RESTORES FAIRNESS TO THE ECONOMY AND WILL ENSURE WORKING PEOPLE SHARE IN THE MASSIVE WEALTH WE HELPED CREATE. TAKE ACTION TODAY. Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons