On March 6, the House passed HR 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), by a vote of 225 to 206. The legislation would make it easier for workers to join and form unions by empowering the National Labor Relations Board to levy fines and by extending collective bargaining rights to independent contractors—a major win for AFM members. The bill also included a last-minute amendment that would study the bill’s impact on gig workers. “There were some concerns about the flexibility aspect of the PRO Act, and if people could opt out if it didn’t suit their personal needs and circumstances,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), who supported the amendment, told Politico.
Rep Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said of the bill’s approval in the House, “By passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act today, the House has taken a critical step to secure workers’ right to join a union. … The Protecting the Right to Organize Act makes the most significant upgrades to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 85 years by providing new tools to protect workers from intimidation and retaliation, introducing meaningful penalties for companies that violate workers’ rights, and allowing workers to hold free, fair, and safe union elections.”
The legislation will next be taken up in the Senate, where it is expected to face strong Republican opposition.