AFM International President Ray Hair sent a letter urging members of Congress to support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (Pro Act). The PRO Act is the most significant effort to expand the rights of working people to organize since the Great Depression. The legislation would let workers quickly vote to form a union without employer interference. It also would limit anti-worker tactics like employee misclassification. The bill would also protect striking workers and help workers secure a first contract.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the PRO Act (H.R. 2474) this week. Read the text of AFM International President Ray Hair’s letter sent to all members Congress below:
On behalf of 80,000 members of the American Federation of Musicians, I write urging your support of H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”) and ask that you oppose any amendments or any offensive motions that may be offered during House deliberations.
The PRO Act strengthens the National Labor Relations Act by supporting the ability of working people have a voice on the job. The bill would update the National Labor Relations Act to allow workers to have a greater say in such important workplace issues as higher wages and retirement security. Once workers vote to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board could seek enforcement and relief in federal court allowing for swifter justice. In addition, the bill would prohibit employers from forcing workers to attend captive audience meetings designed to encourage workers from voting against the union. Companies and corporate officers would be confronted with stiff financial penalties for violating the law.
The PRO act also establishes a mediation and arbitration process to prevent employers from avoiding the completion of a first contract. Historically, many employers attempt to stall first-contract negotiations in an effort to frustrate and in some cases stop the collective bargaining process, often after union organizers and negotiators have worked for years to finalize a first contract.
The bill also supports workers’ right to picket or withhold their labor in order to push for workplace changes. It also protects employees’ right to strike and prevents an employer from hiring permanent replacement workers and allows unrepresented workers to participate in collective action and class action lawsuits against unscrupulous employers.
Finally, HR 2474 eliminates state right to work laws which over the years have given more power to billionaires and special interest groups at the expense of lowering worker wages, eroding pensions and healthcare coverages in states where such laws have been enacted.
We urge you to support the PRO Act.