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Sens. Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock Push to Strengthen Workers’ Right to Organize

Georgia’s labor leaders thank Ossoff and Warnock for working to protect union workers

Washington, D.C. — Georgia’s U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock recently joined their colleagues to introduce the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces. 

Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality — with studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace. 

The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.  

“Without the rights to organize and bargain collectively, American workers can’t secure the wages, benefits, and safe and dignified working conditions they deserve.” Senator Ossoff said. “The PRO Act will help level the playing field between corporate America and American workers who are too often exploited, underpaid, denied essential benefits, and forced into debt.”

“We must work as hard for Georgia’s families as they do for us. Especially after we’ve witnessed the sacrifices made by so many frontline workers during this once-in-a-century pandemic, it’s clear that those who work to keep industries and businesses running in our communities should be able to band together to improve their working conditions, and be able to share in the abundance of prosperity that they help create,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “The PRO Act helps to protect the dignity of work and gets us closer to ensuring Georgians, in every corner of the state, can thrive, not just survive.”

Today, several Georgia labor and union leaders are applauding Senators Ossoff and Warnock for standing with them in the fight to strengthen labor unions:

“For far too long, the rights of workers and unions have been under attack here in Georgia and nationwide. Especially in this challenging time, our members deserve better, and I’m thrilled Senators Ossoff and Warnock have stepped up to champion the PRO Act to strengthen our member’s rights to organize and fight for better wages and working conditions. We look forward to working with them to protect organized labor and restore the true dignity of work,” said Charlie Flemming, President of the Georgia AFL-CIO.

“We are proud to have Senators Ossoff and Warnock representing the working people of Georgia in the United States Senate. By co-sponsoring the PRO act they are showing that their values are about supporting working families and their right to organize for democracy, safety and fairness at work,” said Eric Taylor, Director of Collective Bargaining and Member Servicing for the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Local 1996. “We applaud their decision to co-sponsor the PRO Act and support them in this fight to strengthen workers’ rights in Georgia and across the country.” 

“AFSCME Georgia Local 1644 is pleased that our newly elected Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are co-sponsoring the PRO Act. The PRO Act will grant thousands of workers collective-bargaining rights that they do not have currently and address other issues related to outdated labor laws. We believe this is a big step in the right direction,” said Tracey Thornhill, President of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Georgia Local 1644.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the true meaning of ‘heroes,’ and frontline employees like transit and school bus workers deserve a Federal Labor Law framework built to ensure that hard-working people are getting their fair share of economic growth,” said Britt Dunams,

President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732. “The PRO Act would modernize the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by bringing its remedies in line with other workplace laws, and I thank Senators Ossoff and Warnock for supporting the PRO Act to protect the rights of all workers on the job and help our economy build back better beloved communities.”

“The passage of the PRO Act will essentially breathe new life into the labor movement at a time when we witness multi-billion corporations, like Amazon, being charged by the FTC for withholding $61.7 million in tips from drivers,” said Sandra Williams, Executive Director of the Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council. “The PRO Act will enhance union organizing and collective bargaining for millions of workers, and hopefully, lessen the fear workers have as they strive for equality in the workplace.  The labor movement is very excited that our newly elected Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sticking to their campaign promise to uphold labor and to give working people a voice in the future.  The passage of this bill will forever change labor laws in Right to Work states like Georgia. “

The PRO Act would protect the right to organize and collectively bargain by:

  • through authorizing meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights, strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights, and authorizing a private right of action for violation of workers’ rights.
  • by enhancing workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect “fair share” fees, modernizing the union election process, and facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements.
  • by closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors and increasing transparency in labor-management relations.

To read the fact sheet of the PRO Act, click HERE.

To read the section by section on the PRO Act, click HERE.

To read the full text of the PRO Act, click HERE

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