Senate Committee, Led by Bernie Sanders, to Debate Pro-Union Legislation

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This legislation, along with two other bills, will be up for discussion during the committee’s session.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders ( Photo: PBS )

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has announced its intention to hold a markup on the PRO Act.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) seeks to introduce significant changes to the employment landscape, with a particular focus on rolling back “right to work” laws. Among its provisions is a revision of the classification of independent contractors, potentially requiring companies like Uber to employ workers rather than treating them as independent contractors. This shift has faced opposition from companies that rely on the gig economy business model. Moreover, the act aims to end right-to-work laws that currently exist in 27 states, preventing unions from mandating dues or fees for employees. It also stipulates that employees who benefit from a collective bargaining agreement can be compelled to contribute to the union.

The PRO Act grants the National Labor Relations Board the authority to levy fines for labor violations and prohibits employers from permanently replacing workers involved in strikes

The legislation also includes measures to facilitate union formation, such as restricting companies from holding mandatory meetings to oppose unionization. While the markup is expected to serve as a messaging bill, it faces little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled House. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the committee’s ranking member, characterized the markup as partisan, claiming that it aims to create controversy without prospects for Senate approval or enactment into law.

The Senate Committee‘s debate on the PRO Act and related legislation signifies the ongoing interest in union rights and labor issues, but the bill’s fate remains uncertain given the political dynamics in the House.


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