Douglas P. Nelson, Business Manager
Advocating for Fairer Labor Laws
The House of Representatives passed the most significant potential change to labor law in more than 70 years on March 9.
The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, passed 225-206, with the support of all but a single Democrat – 213 had sponsored the bill – and five of 211 Republicans.
President Biden recorded a video (below) sharing his unequivocal support for collective bargaining and union rights.
The bill contains more than 30 substantial reforms and updates to existing labor law to expand protections of workers’ rights, punish companies for violating those rights and to reset the rules so union elections will be free, fair and safe.
It also undoes one of the most harmful labor policies ever passed in the United States, dissolving so-called right-to-work laws nationwide.
"Nearly 60 million Americans would join a union if they get a chance, but too many employers and states prevent them from doing so through anti-union attacks," President Joe Biden said in a statement before passage of the bill. "They know that without unions, they can run the table on workers — union and nonunion alike."
IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson said the PRO Act is the most extensive expansion of workplace democracy since the 1935 passage of the Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board and granted private sector workers the right to form and join unions.
“Where unions are strong, wages are higher for typical workers – union and nonunion alike,” Stephenson said in a letter sent to all members of the House before the vote. “Family-sustaining middle-class jobs are the route to economic security and there is no better path to the middle class than a union job with the security it provides.”
A similar bill died last year when the Republican Senate was controlled by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Trump White House vehemently opposed it.