The Working Class Needs the PRO Act
A top national priority for DSA is the Protect the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, passed by the House on March 9 and facing an uphill battle in the Senate in coming months. The PRO Act by itself will not restore militancy and power to the American labor movement, but it will partially reverse 75 years of attacks on the right of private sector workers to unionize.
What is the PRO Act?
The PRO Act aims to fix the nation’s broken labor laws by amending the National Labor Relations Act, or Wagner Act, passed by Congress in 1935. The intent of the NLRA was to empower private sector workers by protecting their right to organize unions and bargain collectively. Its provisions allowed the mass union organizing already underway in the early 30s to expand by providing it with explicit legal basis. The NLRA established a National Labor Relations Board with broad court-like powers to adjudicate disputes between labor and capital and gave it enforcement powers.
Over time, however, federal legislation, court decisions and congressional underfunding of enforcement tilted U.S. labor law heavily toward management. Today the NLRA and board are mostly useless for organizing and far less effective in upholding worker rights than they once were.
The PRO Act would reinstate many of the original pro-worker provisions of the law, and roll back many of the anti-labor amendments. It would once again allow unions to organize effectively in the private sector (in the 1950s a third of the private sector workforce was organized; today it is down to 6%). It would also provide workers in the gig economy with powerful weapons to upend anti-worker laws like Prop 22. Read more.
In order to pass the Senate the fight for the PRO Act will have to be linked to overturning the filibuster.
What can EBDSA members do to help pass the PRO Act?
Currently unions and their allies, including DSA, are phone banking and making plans for town halls and actions in support of the PRO Act, intended to culminate on May Day with mass activities. Fill out this form if you would like to help.