Cantwell Cosponsors Murray’s Bicameral Bill to Protect Workers’ Right to Organize, Make our Economy Work for Everyone

Bicameral legislation addresses growing income inequality by strengthening federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and negotiate for higher wages and better benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Bobby Scott (D, VA-03), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) in introducing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces.

“Too many middle-class families struggle to make ends meet and too many people work long hours for too little pay,” said Senator Cantwell. “In the State of Washington, we know the power of unions and organized labor first-hand. We need to strengthen collective bargaining and support working families.”

Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality—studies show that union members earn, on average, 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace. The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits. Income inequality has surged in the United States in recent years, and while the average income of the bottom 50 percent of income earners has stagnated, the top one percent of earners have seen their wages grow by 205 percent.

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

  • Bolstering remedies and punishing violations of workers’ rights through 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 workers’ right 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.

A fact sheet on the PRO Act is available HERE.

A section by section on the PRO Act is available HERE.

To read the full text of the PRO Act, click HERE.