Senator Manchin Announces Support for PRO Act
Three Democrats are still undecided with a PRO Act week of Action starting on April 26th
On Friday, UCOMM reported on Maine Senator Angus King signing on to support the PRO Act. Just days later, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced that he will become the 47th Senator to sign on to sponsor the important labor bill.
The PRO Act would be the most substantial piece of pro-worker legislation in decades and would even the playing field for workers who are organizing. Highlights from the bill include making right-to-work laws illegal, creating real penalties for employers that try to break a union, and making it easier to organize and get a first contract.
The PRO Act passed the House last month by a bipartisan vote of 225-206. In the House, five Republican members supported it and one Democrat voted against it. In the Senate, Democrats will need all 50 Senators to sign on before Majority Leader Chuck Schumer considers putting the bill on the floor for a vote or in an omnibus bill like the infrastructure bill that is being written.
Manchin made the announcement while he was speaking at a National Press Club event on climate change. He was joined at the event by United Mineworkers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts. In his announcement, Manchin said that he is sponsoring the PRO Act because “50% of unions fail in their first year of organizing. This legislation will level the playing field.” He then went on to say that he looks forward to working with both Democrats and Republicans to move the bill through the Senate.
— AFL-CIO // Pass the #PROAct (@AFLCIO) April 19, 2021
With Manchin and King now supporting the bill, there are only three Democrats who are still undecided on the PRO Act. They are Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner. There are also no Republicans who have signed onto the bill. While none are expected to sign on, some from pro-union states like Alaska could be pressured to support the bill.
To push these last three Senators to support the PRO Act, the AFL-CIO has announced a week of action starting on April 26th and running through May 1. In Arizona, there will be a Letter to the Editor writing party, a phone bank, and two in-person rallies in Tucson, while in Virginia, there is a rally, phone bank, and a job site informational leafleting event planned to pressure Senator Warner to support the PRO Act. There will also be events in other states to increase the pressure on Republicans to support the bill or to thank Democrats that are already on board.