Angus King Signs on to Support PRO Act
This leaves four Democrats still undecided on the important labor bill
To pass the PRO Act Democrats must get all 50 of their Senators on board with the bill. That effort made some progress as Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, signed on as a supporter of the bill.
King was one of five Senators that the AFL-CIO and other labor groups targeted after the bill passed the House of Representatives. According to The Intercept, in the days before he decided to sign on to support the PRO Act his office was being inundated with phone calls. “They said he had been ‘inundated’ with calls from both sides,” said one labor official, who asked to speak anonymously to The Intercept, citing the private nature of the conversations. In addition to unions, the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) have been organizing phone banks to undecided Senators. The coalition to pass the PRO Act, which includes many unions, the DSA and is being spearheaded by the Painters union, who claims to have organized 500,000 calls to the five hold outs over the past few months.
“Our coalition has been able to mobilize working people because the PRO Act is such a wildly popular piece of legislation. That’s certainly true in Maine, but it’s also true in Virginia, West Virginia, and Arizona,” said Ryan Kekeris, communications director for the IUPAT and lead organizer on their campaign to pass the PRO Act. “We know that labor rights are civil rights, and we know that the PRO Act would be the biggest expansion of fundamental rights to working people in generations. Roughly 90 percent of all working people do not have the freedom to collectively bargain, and millions say they would join a union right now if given the opportunity. We intend to give them that opportunity. We commend Sen. King for listening to his constituents. We urge Sens. Warner, Manchin, Sinema, and Kelly to do the same.”
As Kekeris mentions, the remaining holdouts are Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.