Rep. Castor Statement on House Passage of the PRO Act
Historic Workers’ Rights Legislation to Rebuild Middle Class
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement after House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act today:
“Our economy needs a strong middle class. Unions are essential to rebuilding America’s middle class and improving the lives of workers and their families. When workers have the power to stand together and form a union, they have higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions. Protecting workers’ right to organize will help rebuild the middle class and improve the quality of life for workers and their families.
“The working men and women of America have been the glue to hold our communities together throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They educate our children during the turmoil of the coronavirus, keep our senior neighbors safe in nursing homes, deliver the mail and important packages so we can stay safe at home, and work safely at construction sites to keep our economy moving.
“So after years of erosion of the rights of workers, the House just passed the most significant upgrade for workers’ ability to band together, improve their working conditions and bargain for their rights in more than 80 years. The past year has seen record job losses while billionaires’ wealth has skyrocketed. Our economy is out of balance with working families being left behind. This is wrong, and the PRO Act is a historic piece of legislation that would help level the playing field, strengthen our democracy and advance dignity in the workplace.
“The PRO Act is especially critical in states like Florida where our state laws allow so many businesses to harass and even let folks go just for attempting to organize. We know that when workers have the power to form unions, they receive higher wages, better benefits and safer working conditions – we have the makings of a true middle class. The PRO Act ensures that workers can decide for themselves whether to exercise their right to form a union and protect against companies and executives that violate workers’ collective bargaining rights.
“America was not built by the wealthiest Americans, it was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions place power into the hands of workers and give them a stronger, unified voice to increase good-paying jobs and ensure job security, protect against all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, and safeguard the health, safety and economic security of all workers, union and non-union. I’m glad to join together with my Democratic colleagues to strengthen our middle class and lift up workers, their families, and America’s economy,” Rep. Castor said.
“The PRO Act is the most significant piece of proworker legislation since the New Deal. It would fight back against years of increasing inequality and reform labor laws that too often favor employers over working people. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent economic downturn that followed, has made the importance of representation in the workplace even clearer. Unions fight for safety on the job, solidarity between employees, and higher standards of living,” said Mike Williams, Florida AFL-CIO, President.
“The PRO Act is the most sweeping change to labor laws since the National Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to organize in 1935. It’s refreshing to see the strides that labor is making, and I’m grateful for the work that Rep. Castor is doing on the PRO Act and has always done on apprenticeships, and for workers and unions in the State of Florida. Over time, labor laws have become no longer on the side of workers, and they enable employers to routinely interfere, coerce and fire them during organizing campaigns. The PRO Act will help counteract this inequality and level the playing field,” Shawn McDonnell, West Central Florida Labor Council, President.
Read more about the PRO Act here.