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House Passes Bonamici-Backed Bill to Protect the Right of Workers to Organize

March 9, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC [03/09/2021] – Today the House passed legislation supported by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, to strengthen the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

The bipartisan Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is the most significant workers’ rights legislation to pass the House in more than 80 years. It will help workers by strengthening their right to join together and negotiate for better working conditions, establishing substantive and enforceable penalties for unlawful tactics employers take to interfere with union elections or with workers organizing a union, and closing loopholes in labor law that allow workers to be misclassified.

Bonamici spoke in favor of the legislation on the House floor. The video can be found here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for workers to have the right to negotiate for better wages, stronger benefits, and safer working conditions,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “To keep our communities going, nurses, grocery store workers, firefighters, child care workers, educators, health care workers, and many more have been showing up to work every day despite the risks. By passing the historic PRO Act, we are honoring their work and helping to restore fairness to our economy by making it easier for workers to form unions and collectively bargain. The presence of a unionized workforce helps raise the standards for wages and working conditions for all workers, and we are finally holding employers accountable for unlawful tactics to interfere with workers who are organizing a union. The PRO Act is an important step that will help rebuild the middle class, and I encourage the Senate to quickly pass this legislation.”

"Working Oregonians and the Oregon Labor Movement applaud the Congresswoman's steadfast commitment to unrigging the rules of the economy and making it easier for more workers to experience the transformational power of joining together in a union with her vote today,” said Graham Trainor, President, Oregon AFL-CIO. “From her time as a state legislator helping to pass the nation's first ban on the abusive captive audience meetings we see used by employers during organizing campaigns, and like the ones Amazon workers are facing today in Bessemer, Alabama, to her leadership role on the PRO Act in the House Committee on Education and Labor, Congresswoman Bonamici has understood throughout her career in public service the value that unions play in the economy, in dismantling gender and racial inequities in the workplace, and Labor's role in rebuilding from the devastating impacts of the pandemic." 

The PRO Act would protect the right to organize and collectively bargain by:

  • Bolstering remedies by authorizing meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights, strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights, and authorizing a private right of action for violation of workers’ rights.
  • Strengthening the right of workers to join together and negotiate for better working conditions by enhancing workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect “fair share” fees, modernizing the union election process, and facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements.
  • Restoring fairness to an economy rigged against workers by closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors and increasing transparency in labor-management relations.