Labor Demands: Pass the Pro Act


A number of labor leaders, in a call to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, have made it clear to the party’s US Senators that their support of the PREO Act is crucial to union support and financial contributions to their campaigns for re-election.  The act, passed by the House of Representatives, currently has 47 sponsors in the Senate, all Democrats.  There are only three Democratic holdouts, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Warner of Virginia. Of the three, only Kelly is up or re-election in 2020.  A fourth, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is not a sponsor, but has indicated he supports the bill.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act has long been a goal of organized labor.  It overhauls current labor laws by, among other things:

  • Allowing workers to win union representation if a majority signed cards
  • Outlawing “captive-audience meetings” where workers, on company time, have to listen to anti-union messages
  • Establishing penalties for employers who fire union supporters
  • Prohibiting the permanent replacement of strikers
  • Repealing the parts of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 that ban “secondary boycotts” and allow states to prohibit the union shop.

The Pro Act was a key provision on President Biden’s agenda in his campaign for president last year.

In other actions, members of the building trades unions rallied in front of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s Manhattan offices on Saturday, May 1, part of a week of more than 700 events calling on the Senate to pass the bill.  “This is not a rally against Schumer. It’s in support of the PRO Act,” said Freddy Bastone of Building Trades for Workers Democracy.  “Schumer says he’s going to push this.  We want to make sure it happens.”  And the AFL-CIO reported that it was spending an amount in the seven figures on TV and media ads targeting senators in states with significant union memberships to support the bill.

Dave Jamieson in Huffington Post (4/28/21), Eleanor Mueller & Holly Otterbein in Politico, (4/22/21)