Two More Votes for the PRO Act?
Reports say that Senators Kelly and Warner are now supporting the PRO Act
For the last few months, the PRO Act has been stalled in the Senate. Although it passed the House in March, it has languished in the Senate since it did not have the support of 50 Senate Democrats, let alone the support of any Republicans.
However, some progress seems to be occurring with Ryan Grim of The Intercept reporting that two of the three final holdouts, Mark Kelly and Mark Warner, have informed labor officials that they are now on board with the PRO Act. It is unclear what changed their mind, although they have been facing increased pressure from unions to support the bill for months.
The timing of this move is especially important since Democrats in the Senate are considering what they can add to the Budget Reconciliation bill. This bill would only need 50 votes to pass, meaning that Republicans could not hold it up via the filibuster. While it is unlikely that the entire PRO Act would be allowed to be included in the bill, Senate Democrats have been talking to labor leaders and Senate rules officials about what parts would fit under the budget reconciliation rules. As UCOMM previously reported, they are considering including a mechanism to allow the NLRB to institute real fines on companies that violate labor law, enacting a stricter “ABC Test,” giving tax credits for union dues, and increasing funding for labor agencies to take part in enforcement efforts. However, these are unlikely to be included if unions fail to get at least 50 Senators supporting the bill.
In the PRO Act’s full form, the bill would
- Create monetary penalties against employers who try to illegally bust unions
- Strengthen protections for workers who are wrongly fired during union organizing campaigns
- Allow workers to take employers to court when they’ve broken collective bargaining laws
- Make it easier for newly formed unions to secure their first contracts
- Bolster workers’ rights related to strikes and boycotts
- Override anti-union “right to work” laws that have now spread to a majority of states
- Make it harder for companies like Uber to avoid unions by using “independent contractors”
If Senators Warner and Kelly are really supporting the bill, they have not yet released a formal statement on their support and the Northern Viringia AFL-CIO says they have not been informed that Warner is sponsoring the bill, then only Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema is left opposing the PRO Act. Activists, including UCOMM PAC, have been pressuring Sinema and some Republicans like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski to finally announce their support for the bill.