Chairman Scott Urges Passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act
Chairman Scott: “Over the past year, every elected official has celebrated the courage and resilience of our workers. But there is a difference between praising hard work and standing up for hardworking people. Workers need our solidarity, and they need our action.”
WASHINGTON – Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021 (PRO Act) during a press conference hosted by the AFL-CIO.
“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act is grounded in the basic idea that, in America, hard work should pay off. For generations, our nation’s labor unions have ensured that workers receive a fair share of the profits they produce.
“Unfortunately, union density has fallen to its lowest level since the National Labor Relations Act was enacted in 1935. The impact of that trend is clear: While corporations and the wealthy continue to add to their fortunes, workers and their families are being left behind.
“The decline in union membership is not a reflection of workers’ choices. It is the product of decades of well-funded anti-union attacks, which have exploited the weaknesses in our labor law.
“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would finally level the playing field and restore U.S. labor law to its original purpose of protecting and promoting the formation of unions. The PRO Act strengthens the National Labor Relations Act in several important ways.
“First, the PRO Act provides new tools to protect workers from anti-union intimidation and retaliation. This includes protections to immediately reinstate workers who suffer retaliation, instead of forcing them to wait months or even years for their cases to be resolved. The bill also protects workers’ First Amendment rights by ensuring that workers can no longer be punished for standing in solidarity with workers from another company.
“It also addresses states’ anti-union “right to work” laws by ensuring unions can collect a fair share payment from all workers for the services they are obligated by law to provide.
“It also prevents employers from misclassifying employees as independent contractors in order to prevent their workers from organizing.
“And the PRO Act introduces meaningful penalties for companies that violate workers’ collective bargaining rights. Under current law, the fine you pay for a parking ticket is greater than the fine companies pay for violating workers’ right to organize. This legislation adds teeth to the NLRA to hold employers accountable for unlawful anti-union activity.
“Finally, the PRO Act strengthens safeguards to ensure workers can hold free, fair, and safe union elections. Specifically, the bill prohibits employers from forcing workers to attend mandatory captive-audience meetings where workers are subject to anti-union propaganda.
“The bill also allows employees to host elections away from their employers’ premises and use mail or electronic ballots to protect workers’ safety.
“Congress must take these long overdue steps to ensure that workers have a right to stand together and negotiate for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions.
“Over the past year, every elected official has celebrated the courage and resilience of our workers. But there is a difference between praising hard work and standing up for hardworking people.
“Workers need our solidarity, and they need our action.
“This week the House will do its part by passing the PRO Act. The Senate must swiftly follow suit and deliver this top legislative priority to the President’s desk.
“I want to, again, thank all the workers and advocates across the country who have helped advance this legislation. Thank you.
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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