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5 Ways the PRO Act Will Help Address Systemic Racism

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.) have introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which restores the right of workers to freely and fairly form a union and bargain together for changes in the workplace. The PRO Act is landmark worker empowerment, civil rights and economic stimulus legislation and an essential part of any plan to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. The provisions of the PRO Act will help all working families, but in particular, the PRO Act will help address systemic racism.

Here are five ways it does that:

1. The union advantage is greater for Black, Latino, women, immigrant, LGBTQ and other workers who have experienced workplace discrimination. Black, Latino and women workers are paid 13.7%, 20.1% and 5.8% more, respectively, when they belong to a union. Union contracts pay women and men the same for doing the same job. You cannot be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity under a union contract.

2. The latest research shows that the rapid growth of unions in the 20th century...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio AFL-CIO Calls on Business to Pay Fair Share to Repair Ohio Unemployment Compensation System

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

For the past decade, Ohio Republicans have yet to fix Ohio's broken unemployment system. Last week, Governor Mike DeWine has called on the legislature to tackle the issue, but rather than adjust the corporate taxable wage base to be in alignment with the national average (which is lower than any of Ohio’s neighboring states), the business lobby is calling on Republican legislators to limit eligibility and cut needed benefits to workers.

In an interview with WCBE’s Andy Chow, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga (USW) said, “When you look at how front-line workers have put their health on the line to get us through this pandemic, I think we’re going to see an opportunity where the employers will understand that they need to step up and just do the average with...

On Workers' Memorial Day, Ask Your Senator to Vote 'Yes' on the PRO Act

On Workers Memorial Day, we remember those who have suffered and died on the job. We have lost and continue to lose too many working people to COVID-19 and other workplace hazards. No one should die simply because we go to work.

Under the law, every employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace. But each year, thousands of people are killed and millions more get sick or are injured from preventable workplace hazards. And after this past year, it’s painfully clear that too many corporate interests just don’t care about worker safety, even during a global pandemic.

Throughout this crisis, unions and our allies stepped into action. We held state and local leaders accountable to enforce the law. We won protections for members, including personal protective equipment, ventilation and training.

Unions are, and will always be, working people coming together to demand safer working conditions. To honor those we’ve lost, we’ll keep fighting on their behalf. That’s why we built our PRO Act National Week of Action around Workers Memorial Day.

We need...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 700-Plus Events During Nationwide PRO Act Week of Action

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

This week, the AFL-CIO is leading the PRO Act Week of Action, part of the labor movement’s national campaign urging senators to pass this transformative legislation. The groundswell of support for the bill has been building since it passed the House in early March, with 572 events already occurring. Throughout this week, more than 700 events and actions in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are scheduled.

Events range from socially distanced mobilizations and teach-ins to worksite leafleting, Senate call-in days and actions highlighting the critical role unions play in workplace safety on Workers Memorial Day, April 28. On Monday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, officers from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Harrisburg Region Central Labor Council gathered for a workers’ memorial...

The PRO Act: Worker Safety and Worker Voice

Fifty years ago today, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job. The law was won in 1970 because of the tireless efforts of the labor movement and allies, who drew major attention to work-related deaths, disease and injuries, organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from their government. Since then, unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives. But there is much to be done before the promise to keep all workers safe on the job, during the pandemic and beyond, can be fulfilled.

Worker safety and worker voice go hand in hand. And as we grow our movement, we must use those voices to advocate for a strong workplace safety agenda. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses in the OSH Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Association’s capabilities to ensure workers are protected on the job and in structural failures that have prevented workers’ from organizing in our...

#PassTheProAct: In the States Roundup

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

Alaska AFL-CIO:
Earlier this month, Alaskans braved the elements to fight for the #PROAct.We're not done yet! We still need @lisamurkowski and @SenDanSullivan to support Alaskan workers by #PassingThePROAct through the U.S. Senate! You know what to do, make the call today - 866-832-1560 #1u pic.twitter.com/eYZYsXLVAA— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 27, 2021

Arizona AFL-CIO:
At the most recent meeting of our Executive Council & General Board, the Arizona AFL-CIO approved a resolution in support of admitting the residential and commercial areas of Washington, DC as the 51st state. @DCLabor pic.twitter.com/CmJVzoQWRu— Arizona AFL-CIO // #PassThePROAct (@ArizonaAFLCIO) April 22, 2021

California Labor Federation:
The anti-union funders behind this recall effort want to dismantle every single worker protection CA has put in place over the last 20 years. Minimum wage. Paid sick leave. Health & safety...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Alexandria Passes First Collective Bargaining Ordinance in Virginia

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The city of Alexandria on Saturday, April 17, became the first jurisdiction in the commonwealth of Virginia to pass a collective bargaining ordinance. The Alexandria City Council unanimously passed a collective bargaining ordinance expanding the rights of city workers. The ordinance gives city employees the right to bargain about most workplace issues, including pay, benefits, grievances and other disputes.

“[This is] a big win for labor,” AFSCME District Council 20 Executive Director Robert Hollingsworth told “Union City Radio,” the Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Council’s radio show. “On behalf of the thousands of AFSCME Council 20 public employees, we commend the mayor and city council for hearing our concerns. And we look forward to working with them on an ordinance that serves...

Just the Facts: Freelance Journalists, Creative Professionals and the PRO Act

President Joe Biden is ready to sign the PRO Act into law if it gets through the Senate to his desk. Our labor laws are outdated and no longer protect our right to form and join unions. The PRO Act is the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression. Stronger unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions and dignity for all people who work. Passing the PRO Act will be our first step in getting there. 

The PRO Act will help all workers, including freelancers. Here are some common questions about how the PRO Act will affect freelancers and our answers.

I hear that the PRO Act would cause freelance journalists and creative professionals to lose work. Is this true?

No. Corporate interests are waging a misinformation campaign against the PRO Act. The only way the PRO Act could possibly affect freelance journalists or creative professionals is that it might allow them to join a union and engage in collective bargaining, but only if they choose to. Those not wanting to organize a union or engage in collective action would...

Stop Workplace Violence: The Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Bill to Protect Health Care Workers Against Violent Workplace Attacks Passes the House: "'The pandemic of workplace violence has actually been going on for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated it,' said Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse and executive director of National Nurses United."

AFL-CIO President Discusses the Energy Outlook Under the Biden Administration: "Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the 'Green Economy' under President Biden."

Why The PRO-Act Is Key To Racial Justice And Economic Democracy: "The initial results for RWDSU’s high profile organizing drive at an Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama demonstrate the extent that labor laws favor employers during unionization efforts.  The historic campaign also illustrates the struggles that working class people of color face in achieving economic justice in the fast...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor, Environmental Advocates Call for High-Paying Electric Vehicle Jobs

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Yesterday, ahead of the Leaders Summit on Climate, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and BlueGreen Alliance, along with the UAW and United Steelworkers (USW), released a report highlighting the need to preserve high-paying union jobs in the U.S. auto industry as part of any equitable clean energy transition. The report reviews the economic impacts of the transition to electric vehicles as well as policy options for creating and preserving good union jobs.

“As the auto industry continues transitioning to electric vehicles, policymakers have a responsibility to ensure working families aren’t left behind,” said Brad Markell (UAW), executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. “If we continue on the current path, the heart of American manufacturing will be left at...