Workers across the country are hoping for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act; S.420) to be passed in the Senate and then signed by President Biden. If the PRO Act passes, this would be the most significant worker empowerment legislation to happen since the Great Depression.

The pandemic exposed conditions tolerated by workers for too long. Front-line workers, not only in the medical field, but in many other industries, were forced to show up to work not providing adequate safety equipment, leaving them vulnerable to COVID and employer abuse. The PRO Act would make it possible for employees to come together and create a united voice for fair wages and safe working conditions. Employees would be protected from being misclassified as independent contractors and would be ensured protection by the National Labor Relations Act.

In the 1950s and ’60s, about one in every three workers was in a union; families could thrive on one income. From 1979 to 2017, “hourly compensation of production and nonsupervisory workers grew just 11.1 percent,” economist Elise Gould told the House Ways and Means Committee in 2019; the wages of the top 0.1 percent of earners rose 15 times faster than the wages of the bottom 90 percent!

Working families are struggling with high rents and food costs and lack of affordable health care. Union workers are faring better; they have a voice at the bargaining table. Good “living” wages put more money back into communities. “We all do better when we all do better!”

Please tell your senators you support working people, unions and the PRO Act.

Elizabeth O’Connor

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