House passes Protecting the Right to Organize Act: Strengthens federal labor laws
The House of Representatives voted 225-206, largely along party lines, on Tuesday to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would strengthen federal laws that protect the right to join a union.
The legislation expands collective bargaining rights, creates penalties for companies and executives that violate their employees’ rights, closes loopholes corporations use to exploit workers, and enhances access to fair union elections.
The measure would also give workers greater power to override so-called “right-to-work” laws designed to strip workers of the power and resources to defend themselves.
“The pandemic has revealed that many Coastal Virginians lack access to basic workplace safety protections, health care, or paid leave,” said Second District Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who voted with the majority approving the PRO Act.
“I will always stand up for the working people of my district and defend their right to collectively bargain,” said Luria.
The part about eliminating the misleadingly labeled “right-to-work” laws that tilt the scales against employees is what has the attention of Republicans.
Federal law makes it illegal to force someone to join a union as a condition of employment, which is the key objection cited by Republicans whenever there’s an effort to overturn “right-to-work” statutes.
“There is no freedom so fundamental as the right to work. By eliminating 27 states’ right-to-work laws, including Virginia’s, and denying millions of American workers this freedom by enforcing California-style restrictions on independent contractors, the PRO Act is not pro-worker, but pro-union,” said First District Republican Rob Wittman, who voted against the measure.
“Instead of defending workers, the majority would allow unions to subjugate them, as well as force them to partake in, and subsidize, the political speech of unions,” Wittman said. “The PRO Act further ensures that no worker can escape the grasp of union organizers as it turns over workers personal information to union bosses, exposing workers to the risk of harassment.”
The PRO Act, like other recent efforts to overturn right-to-work laws, would simply allow workers to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
This is what you get when you vote for the people who make everything into a culture war: screwed.
Story by Chris Graham