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Labor Caucus Votes to Protect Workers’ Right to Organize and Make Our Economy Work for Everyone

Mar 9, 2021
Press Release
Legislation addresses growing income inequality by protecting workers’ right to join a union and negotiate for higher wages and better benefits

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, members of the Labor Caucus voted to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits and safer workplaces. The Labor Caucus Co-Chairs – Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) – endorsed the PRO Act in January.

“I know how important it is to give workers a voice and protect them from unfair labor practices because I lived it,” said Congressman Norcross, a former business agent for the IBEW Local 351 and President of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. “I fought for New Jerseyans at the negotiating table for decades. Workers win when they can band together and collectively bargain for safer workplaces, higher wages and better benefits. Today, my fellow co-chairs and I took a major leap forward in restoring fairness to an economy that’s rigged against workers and building back better. As we continue to move forward with the Biden-Harris Administration, I urge the Senate to pass the PRO Act to level the playing field for American workers and their families.”

“The PRO Act is a monumental defense of workers that have been targeted by corporations and anti-union special interests for too long,” said Congressman Pocan. “As a small business owner and union member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades for 30 years, I know how important it is that every worker has a union. This pandemic has proven that corporations put profits over the health and safety of their workers, so it’s up to Congress to ensure that every worker’s right to organize is protected and enforced. It’s time to give workers the tools they need to survive in an economy rigged against them.” 

“Unions don’t just lift up workers and their families, they keep our economy and our communities strong,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “For decades, labor and working families have weathered attacks to reduce their wages, erode their rights, and eliminate their workplace protections. But the PRO Act will restore economic power in the hands of the workers who carry our economy on their shoulders. Today, we begin to write a new chapter of American economic leadership by protecting labor unions and the workers they represent.”

“Over the past several decades the United States has created enormous wealth but working men and women have been left behind with stagnant wages,” said Congressman Suozzi.“The PRO Act is the single most important piece of legislation to help restore the middle class and the American Dream.”

“After spending a decade helping to train Nevadans for good-paying union jobs in the hospitality and service industries, I know the power of unions to uplift working people and strengthen our middle class,” said Congressman Horsford, the former CEO of the Culinary Training Academy of Las Vegas. “With the passage of the PRO Act, the Labor Caucus and House Democrats have advanced major legislative progress to restore fairness in our economy, protect the right to organize, and strengthen workplace protections for millions of unionized and non-unionized workers. President Biden is ready to sign the PRO Act into law, and I hope the Senate will move quickly to bring this important bill to his desk.”

“Middle class Americans and working families were being left behind before the COVID-19 pandemic – and they have suffered the most from job loss and layoffs over the last year,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “That’s why it is more important than ever to protect our workers and their right to unionize as we rebuild our economy. Working people in Southern California and across the country work day in and day out and are still just barely scrapping by. The right to collectively bargain is critical in the fight for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Especially after decades of anti-labor attacks, we must protect workers from retaliation and intimidation. The PRO Act is an important step in making sure we acknowledge the dignity of working families in this country.”

Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality – with studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace. The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.

For a fact sheet on the PRO Act, click here.

For a section-by-section of the PRO Act, click here.

For the bill text of the PRO Act, click here.