Speed Reads


House passes pro-union bill that would overhaul labor laws

With five Republicans joining almost all the Democrats, the House on Tuesday night passed the sweeping Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would reform labor laws and make it easier for workers to unionize.

The vote was 225-206. The PRO Act would forbid employers from interfering in union elections; prevent employers from using an employee's immigration status against them during employment negotiations; give the National Labor Relations Board the ability to fine companies and executives that violate workers' rights; and would allow unions to override "right-to-work" laws by collecting dues from workers who opt out of paying them.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told NPR the PRO Act is "a game changer," and would "protect and empower our workers to exercise our freedom to organize a bargain." To truly "correct inequality in this country — wages and wealth inequality, opportunity, and inequality of power — passing the PRO Act is absolutely essential to doing that," he added.

President Biden also supports the legislation, saying in a statement on Tuesday that about 60 million Americans would join a union if given the opportunity, but "too many employers and states prevent them from doing so through anti-union attacks. They know that without unions, they can run the table on workers — union and non-union alike." The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Retail Federation are both against the PRO Act, with the latter calling it "the worst bill in Congress." The measure needs 60 votes to pass the Senate, where it faces opposition from Republicans.