Press Releases

Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Education and Labor Committee, Advance Bold Proposal to Protect Workers’ Right to Organize

Washington, September 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA) along with her colleagues on the Education and Labor Committee advanced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, H.R.2474. This is the most comprehensive workers’ rights legislation since The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

 

As the daughter of a Union Ironworker, I’ve experienced firsthand why unions are the foundation of America’s middle class. While the economy is working well some, hardworking families across Massachusetts and the United States are not reaping the same rewards. This inequality is the result of policy decisions that have stripped workers of their power to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, benefits, and working conditions. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act is a historic proposal that will give some much-needed teeth to our labor protection laws that protect workers’ right to organize for a better life for themselves and their families,” said Congresswoman Trahan.

 

“I am pleased that my amendment to prohibit the use of offensive lockouts was adopted as part of the final bill. These offensive lockouts happen when a company expels its union-represented employees from the work site, locks the gate, and refuses to permit them to return to work unless they accept the employer’s proposal. We’ve seen this harmful tactic cause financial hardship for workers exercising their rights too many times, and it is time to end it. I’m glad a majority of my colleagues on the committee agreed,” continued Congresswoman Trahan.

 

A video of Congresswoman Trahan speaking in support of her amendment can her found HERE:

 

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act protects the right to join a union by:

 

Deterring and Punishing Violations of Workers’ Rights

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law that protects workers’ right to stand together and negotiate with their employers, does not empower workers to enforce their labor rights in court or permit the Board to assess monetary penalties that could deter and punish unlawful conduct, such as firing workers for seeking a union or insisting on better working conditions. In response, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act:

  • Authorizes meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights.
  • Strengthens support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights.
  • Authorizes a private right of action for violations of workers’ rights.
  • Prevents employers from interfering in union elections.

 

Strengthening Workers’ Right to Join Together and Negotiate for Better Working Conditions

In the Supreme Court, in Congress, and in state legislatures, conservative ideologues have attacked workers’ rights to stand together to improve their working conditions. In response, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act:

  • Enhances workers’ right to support boycotts, strikes, or other acts of solidarity.
  • Safeguards workers’ access to justice.
  • Ensures unions can collect “fair share” fees.
  • Facilitates initial collective bargaining agreements.

 

Restoring Fairness to an Economy that is Rigged Against Workers

Too often, greedy employers have exploited labor laws to deprive workers of their pay, benefits, and rights. In response, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act:

  • Closes loopholes in the federal labor laws.
  • Increases transparency in labor-management relations.

 

A fact sheet on the PRO Act can be found HERE:

 

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