Labor coalition launches midterm campaign for Senate to vote on PRO law

The Worker Power Coalition, made up of more than 40 unions and progressive organizations representing 24 million workers in the United States, has spear a campaign ahead of the 2022 midterm elections to pressure Democratic Senate leaders and U.S. senators from both parties to vote on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. If passed, the PRO Act will institute the biggest overhaul of US labor law since the mid-twentieth century.

The legislation would have ban captive audience meetings held by employers to deter union organizing, increase penalties for employers for violating labor laws, and mandate prompt disclosure of contracts between employers and anti-union consultants. It would also establish mediation and arbitration processes to make it easier for new unions to get their first contract. (Under current conditions, it is common for employers to delay and prolong the bargaining process with relative impunity. As Bloomberg Law reported earlier this year, “the average number of days it takes newly unionized employers and their newly unionized workers to ratify a first contract rose to 465 days.” past in 1935 and has been seen for a long time by labor experts as broken, outdated and insufficient when it comes to protecting workers’ rights to organize unions today.

The legislation past in the House of Representatives in March 2021 with five Republicans and all but one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), vote in support, but it has yet to receive a vote in the US Senate.

The legislation would have ban captive audience meetings held by employers to deter union organizing, increase penalties for employers for violating labor laws, and mandate prompt disclosure of contracts between employers and anti-union consultants. It would also establish mediation and arbitration processes to make it easier for new unions to get their first contract.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-VA) has reported his support for the PRO Act, while Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) refused to Support The legislation.

Organizers and worker delegations affiliated with the Worker Power Coalition have met with Senate Democrats in swing states such as Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, and are holding events to lobby Senate Republicans in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida to show their support for workers by backing the legislation.

In Florida, labor organizers pushed Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to support the legislation with little success. Organizers also backed Sen. Rubio’s Democratic challenger in November, Rep. Val Demmings, who vote for the PRO law in the House.

“We will work with any elected official; we don’t care about political parties. What we’re interested in is common sense legislation that supports working class people trying to live the American dream that we’re seeing increasingly slipping away from us, and a huge reason for that is elected officials like Marco Rubio , who, after repeated attempts over the years, refused to meet with us,” said Curtis Hierro, senior Florida legislative and policy officer for the Communications Workers of America (CWA). “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation we have seen for the labor movement of this generation.

At the end of July 2022, organizers and workers held a rally in Orlando, Florida, demanding Senator Rubio’s support for PRO law outside Rubio’s office. They also held webinars, meetings and political training sessions to educate members on the legislative process.

“We have done the job of educating and organizing our members in the union, making sure they know that on one side you have Marco Rubio, who has literally been the definition of an elected official in a suit empty (I guess the only thing that fills that suit is corporate American and Wall Street money) and that opposes the workers’ agenda,” Hierro added. “Then you have another candidate, Rep. Demings, who whenever called upon to support our union, to support ordinary working people, [has] responded to this call.

On July 13, 2022, trade unionists and organizers held a rally outside Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s office in Milwaukee, demanding that he stop opposing the PRO law. They also support his Democratic opponent in November, Mandela Barnes.

“[It’s] it’s time to take back the state and educate people about PRO law,” said Clinton Rodgers, a CWA organizer in Milwaukee. Rodgers also noted that the PRO Act would “deal a blow to independent ‘right to work’ laws,” such as the one signed by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2015.

“We will work with any elected official; we don’t care about political parties. What interests us is common-sense legislation that supports working-class people trying to live the American Dream that we see increasingly slipping away from us.

Curtis Hierro, senior Florida legislative and policy officer for the Communications Workers of America (CWA)

“Right to work” laws To allow workers to reap all the benefits of being represented by a union in the workplace without becoming a member or paying union dues, which drained the unions’ internal resources (and, therefore, their ability to represent and adequately defend members) and has contributed to union membership burnout in “right to work” states. The PRO law would allow unions to negotiate contracts to override “right to work” laws.

“The PRO law will allow workers to have a voice and [will] protect strikes and other demonstrations and activities, and [it] will make it illegal for employers to permanently replace striking workers,” Rogers added.

A investigation conducted in June 2021 by Hart Research Associates in nine battleground states – Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia – found overwhelming public support for PRO law in each of the States studied by at least 30 percentage points. According to the survey results, even a majority of voters who identify as Republicans support the PRO law.

“Across the country, corporations and the mega-rich are trampling on workers’ rights and our freedom to organize,” said Jimmy Williams Jr., president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, which is part of the Worker Power Coalition pushing for PRO law. “A vote on the PRO Act will show us who the real pro-worker members of the US Senate are. It is high time for the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass the PRO law.

About Michael S. Montanez

Check Also

Why Donald Trump is pushing millions through a Save America PAC campaign loophole

For all his golden toiletformer President Donald Trump is notoriously miserly—with personal funds as well …