Rep. Davis Statement on Passage of the Protect the Right to Organize Act
These past few weeks have seen some truly remarkable, historic actions in the Congress. Today we will finalize the passage of the American Recovery Act. Last week the House passed the For the People Act to protect our democracy and expand voting rights. Yesterday, in response to the staggering and growing economic inequality in the U.S., in a no less historic action, the House passed the Protect the Right to Organize Act.
The wealthiest 0.1 percent in America are taking in over 196 times the income of the bottom 90 percent. Worker hourly pay has stagnated since the mid-1970s, increasing just 24 percent from 1979 to 2018, while worker productivity has increased 134 percent over the same time period. Between March 18, 2020 and January 18, 2021the richest five billionaires (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk) saw an 85 percent increase in their combined wealth from $358 billion to $661 billion.
Since the enactment of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, unions have been attempting to improve labor laws to give workers a chance to speak with some power to their employers. The PRO act would amend some of the country’s decades-old labor laws to give workers more power during disputes at work, protect workers who are illegally fired or suffer other serious economic harm, prevent employers from interfering in union elections, add penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who organize and grant hundreds of thousands of workers collective-bargaining rights they don’t currently have.
After decades of anti-worker attacks and assaults on the freedom to join a union, protecting workers’ right to organize is an important first step toward improving the quality of life for workers and their families.