Monday, September 6, 2021

Team AOC - PRO Act - Protecting the Right to Organize Act

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

This Labor Day, we’re breaking down the most urgent way we can support workers right now.

We have the opportunity to protect unions and expand labor rights by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act – known as the PRO Act. The PRO Act passed in the House, but we need to put more pressure on to get it passed in the Senate.

First, why unions?

A union gives workers the ability to act together to advocate for safe working conditions, improve their wages and benefits, and protect their rights through collective bargaining and action.

Nationwide, union workers make 13.2% more in wages than nonunion workers and are more likely to have employer-provided pensions, health insurance, and other benefits.1

Studies show that unions reduce inequality and are essential for low- and middle-wage workers’ to get their fair share of economic growth.2 We know that declining unionization beginning in the 1970s has fueled rising inequality and stalled economic progress for the middle class.

In addition, giving workers a voice and leverage is essential for democracy. Unions increase participation in political causes and have been proven effective at getting people to the polls.3

Why the decline in unionization?

Current labor laws do far too little to protect workers who exercise their right to form or join a union.

Employers frequently threaten, harass, and intimidate workers who seek to form or join a union, even firing union activists. It’s a major reason why the share of workers in unions has decreased from 33.2% in 1956 to 10.7% in 2016.4

What would the PRO Act do?

The PRO Act would strengthen protections for workers who want to unionize by supporting workers who suffer retaliation from their employers and enhance the rights of workers to boycott, strike, and take other collective action.

It would prevent employers from using loopholes to deny pay, benefits, and rights to employees and forbid employer interference in union elections.

This law would make it illegal for employers to use company-sponsored meetings with mandatory attendance to lobby against a union-organizing drive and establish monetary penalties for companies that violate workers’ rights.

Lastly, it would prevent an employer from using an employee’s immigration status against them when determining the terms of their employment.

What’s next?

In May, we joined the Democratic Socialists of America to reach voters in states where crucial Senators have yet to sign onto the PRO Act.

Together we made 934,000 dials across Arizona, Maine, West Virginia, Virginia, and Alaska talking to voters about why we need to pass the PRO Act and rebuild our labor movement.

By building that pressure coming from people across the country, we flipped Senator Angus King of Maine and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to support the PRO Act. But we still need more Senators to step up.

Together, we can build the largest unionized workforce in history that will fight and win for working families across the country. Please stay tuned for more updates and ways you can help pass the PRO Act.

In solidarity,

Team AOC 

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