Washington, D.C. – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in both the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday at a bicameral event featuring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler among other lawmakers and workers supportive of the bill.
The PRO Act is landmark worker empowerment, civil rights and social justice legislation that seeks to create a fairer, more just economy by strengthening protections for workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions.
IATSE commends our champions in Congress for once again introducing this essential legislation for consideration in the 118th Congress.
America is in the midst of an unprecedented surge in union organizing and with it, corporations that feel they can break the law and block working people from exercising our rights. We must strengthen our woefully outdated labor laws to protect working people.
The PRO Act is a cornerstone of the IATSE Federal Issue Agenda, and would make the American dream more attainable for workers by:
- Holding employers accountable when they violate workers’ rights
- Ensuring that most workers are included under the NLRA’s protections
- Protecting collective action and removing barriers to worker voice
- Strengthening employees’ bargaining rights; and
- Modernizing the union election and enforcement processes
Commenting on the bill, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “IATSE members and entertainment workers seeking IATSE union representation know all too well how the deck has been stacked against them using antiquated labor laws that allow bad faith employers to exploit loopholes and infringe on, or deny them, their rights. They’ve lived it – most commonly being misclassified as independent contractors and deprived of their right to organize. The PRO Act would establish a clear test to determine employee status so that workers are not misclassified, among countless other provisions to empower workers. We’re not going to stop fighting until we get it passed.”
Momentum for transformative labor law reform and support for the PRO Act continues to grow in Congress, evidenced by the 205 original cosponsors of the legislation in the House and 48 in the Senate.
The PRO Act bill number in the House, H.R. 20, is also significant. This is the first of ten bills reserved for the House Minority Leader (H.R. 11-20) to use for legislation of primary concern to the party, representing the importance of union organizing to Democrats’ vision of building a stronger economy from the bottom-up and middle-out.
IATSE strongly compels the House and Senate to pass the PRO Act without delay and send the bill to President Biden to be signed into law because all workers should have the right to form a union.