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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence Votes to Pass Legislation to Protect and Strengthen Workers’ Rights

March 9, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) voted to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act which ensures that workers can decide for themselves whether to exercise their right to form a union. This legislation would represent the most significant advancement of workers’ collective bargaining rights in more than 80 years.

“Too many hard-working Americans are getting left behind. It’s far past time that we build an economy that works for everyone and not just the wealthy few,” said Rep. Lawrence. “The PRO Act strengthens workers’ power to form a union and negotiate for bigger paychecks, better benefits, and safer working conditions. When we support our unions and our workers, we support a stronger middle class and a better quality of life.”

The PRO Act introduces meaningful penalties for companies⎯ and executives⎯ that violate workers’ collective bargaining rights, and closes the loopholes they use to exploit workers.

  • Under current law, the fine you pay for a parking ticket is greater than the fine companies pay for violating workers’ right to organize a union. The PRO Act deters violations by holding employers accountable for unlawful anti-union activity and exposes corporate executives to personal liability if they participate in, or knowingly allow, such violations.

The PRO Act provides new tools to protect workers from anti-union intimidation and retaliation. Under current law:

  • workers who experience retaliation for participating in union activity are forced to wait months or even years before their case gets resolved. The PRO Act ensures that employees will be able to immediately seek an injunction to be reinstated while their case is pending.
  • workers can be punished for standing in solidarity with workers from another company. The PRO Act protects workers’ First Amendment right to speak out on behalf of their fellow workers.

The PRO Act establishes stronger safeguards to ensure workers can hold free and fair union elections.

  • Under current law, employers are allowed to hold captive-audience meetings where workers are required to attend and hear anti-union propaganda—or risk being fired. Under the PRO Act, employers will no longer be permitted to use these meetings to interfere in union elections.