From the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO:
The White House joined the chorus of those urging Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which strengthens the rights of workers to collectively bargain.
As of March 8, the measure, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), has 212 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider the bill later this month.
A statement released by the Executive Office of the President on March 8 reads in part, “The Administration strongly supports House passage of HR 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021, which would strengthen Federal laws that protect workers’ right to organize a union and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
“The policy of the United States Government, stated clearly in the National Labor Relations Act, is to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining,” the White House statement continues. “However, due to anti-union efforts by many employers for decades, lax enforcement of existing labor laws, and the failure to restore and strengthen labor laws to address the real-world of labor-management relations, only 6.3 percent of private-sector U.S. wage and salary workers were union members in 2020.”
The announcement of support from the Biden administration comes eight days after the President released a video in which he reiterated his support for the Labor Movement, which he proclaimed as a candidate last year.
In that video, Biden stated, “I’ve long said America wasn’t built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class and unions built the middle class.” This declaration is nearly repeated in the text of the March 8 statement.
The MTD has joined with the rest of the AFL-CIO to urge passage of the PRO Act. It would establish a timely process for workers who have voted to organize to gain a first contract. It would close loopholes that have allowed for the misclassification of workers. It would allow unions to collect fair-share fees to cover their costs associated with collective bargaining and contract administration.
A similar version of the HR 842 passed the House in 2020 with bipartisan support, but never was brought before the Senate for consideration.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka avowed the PRO Act has the highest consideration of any legislation before Congress.
To see the full text of the White House statement, click here