The PRO Act protects the right to join a union by bolstering remedies and punishing violations of workers’ rights, strengthening workers’ right to stand together and negotiate for better working conditions, and restoring fairness to an economy that is rigged against workers.
From 1980 to 2014, wages for the bottom half of income earners grew by one percent, while wages for the top one percent grew by 205 percent. This inequality and stagnation is the result of deliberate policy choices that have stripped workers of the power to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, benefits, and working conditions. For example, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law that protects workers’ right to organize and negotiate with employers, does not empower workers to enforce their labor rights in court or permit the Board to assess penalties that could deter unlawful conduct.
Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing income inequality, but special interest-funded attacks on labor laws have led to a severe decline in union membership. Today, union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education and experience in a nonunion workplace. However, employers have helped cut union membership from 33 percent in 1956 to just 10.8 percent in 2020.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act restores fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits. In the aftermath of attacks on workers’ rights from the Supreme Court, in Congress, and in state legislatures, it has never been more important to ensure workers have the power to organize effectively.
Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act – at a glance
Bill Number: H.R. 842 / S. 420
Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) / Sen. Patty Murray (WA)
Status: Passed the House; referred to HELP committee in Senate
What it does:
Deterring and punishing violations of workers’ rights
- Authorizes meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights
- Strengthens support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights
- Authorizes a private right of action for violations of workers’ rights
- Prevents employers from interfering in union elections
Strengthening workers’ right to join together and negotiate for better working conditions
- Enhances workers’ right to support boycotts, strikes, or other acts of solidarity
- Safeguards workers’ access to justice by overturning Justice Gorsuch’s assault on workers in Epic Systems v. Lewis
- Ensures unions can collect “fair share” fees
- Facilitates initial collective bargaining agreements
Restoring fairness to an economy that is rigged against workers
- Closes loopholes in the federal labor laws
- Increases transparency in labor-management relations