Workers need the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2023 (S.567 and H.R.20)
According to the AFL-CIO, “The purposes of the PRO Act are simple: Ensure workers can push for the changes we want to see at our jobs without fear of retaliation, and strengthen workers’ right to form a union and negotiate for those changes if we so choose.”
How more than appropriate that our Hot Labor Summer of 2023 began on the very Summer Solstice Day when the Senate Committee on Health, Labor and Pensions advanced the PRO Act on a party line vote.
“Workers in America have the constitutional right to assemble and form a union,” Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in his opening statement. “Over the last many decades, corporate interests have done everything that they can to make it impossible for workers to exercise that right. We will be dealing with that issue today.” And so, Democrats did.The Republicans proposed dozens of amendments to weaken the protections offered by the PRO Act, and these were all defeated.
Two other bills advanced in party-line votes at that committee hearing. The Healthy Families Act (S.1664), which would guarantee every worker receives up to seven paid sick days from their employer, and the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.728), which would address the gender wage gap by making it easier for women to come together to file and win lawsuits against employers who discriminate with wages.
That was a pretty good day.
Alas, there is, as Oppenheimer said in the movie, “a nearly zero chance” that these or any other worker protection bill will get the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster or see the light of day in a Republican Congress. The only way working people in America will get the legislative reforms we need is to turn the House blue and expand Democratic control of the Senate.
We can make a start on that effort on September 14, 2023, with an old fashioned (virtual) phone bank to defeat Mike Garcia (R CD27), the ONLY Republican Congressman in LA County. Click here to register
Happy Labor Day!