In a major victory for IATSE members and working people across the United States, yesterday the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act on a bipartisan basis.
The PRO Act will restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that give workers a voice on the job so they can negotiate for higher wages, better benefits, a more secure retirement and a safer workplace. Making the PRO Act into law is a cornerstone of the 2020 IATSE Federal Issue Agenda. The IATSE applauds the House of Representatives for passing this groundbreaking, pro-worker bill.
“Make no mistake, this is the most significant step Congress has taken to strengthen labor laws in the United States in 85 years and a win for workers everywhere,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Hundreds of IATSE members from across the country stepped up and called their Representatives to voice support for this critical legislation. Our voices were heard and the country is better for it.
At a press conference with union representatives prior to the vote, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “we all want to talk about a seat at the table. The most important table to us is America’s kitchen tables where families come together to make their decisions…and we don’t want them to have the struggle unnecessarily when there is an opportunity for them to do better. And I want to thank the AFL-CIO and all in the labor movement for what they have done to make the future better for so many families in America.”
As International President Matthew D. Loeb pointed out in his letter to Members of Congress in support of the PRO Act:
Too often, when workers choose to form a union, employers stall the bargaining process to avoid reaching an agreement. The PRO Act would establish a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract. This important change would make the freedom to negotiate a reality for countless workers who form unions but never get to enjoy the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement.The PRO Act would modernize the NLRA by bringing its remedies in line with other workplace laws. In addition to imposing financial penalties on companies and individual corporate officers who violate the law, the bill would give workers the option of bringing their case to federal court.
Under the bill, once workers vote to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be authorized to order that the employer commence bargaining a first contract. These orders would be enforced in district courts to ensure swift justice. In addition, the bill would ensure that employees are not deprived of their right to a union because their employer hides behind a subcontractor or other intermediary, or deliberately misclassifies them as supervisors or independent contractors.
The bill would also eliminate “right to work” laws; prohibit mandatory “captive audience” meetings; and protect the right to strike, among other provisions.
The passage of the PRO Act in the House is an important step towards leveling the playing field for workers. The IATSE urges the Senate to consider this House-passed bill and help us build an economy that works for all working families.