A 2018 study on union impact on income from the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that workers represented by unions earned 10-20% more than their non-union counterparts. Recognizing the importance of access to a union wage, members of Congress introduced legislation increasing the access to unions in both the private and public sectors.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474/S. 1306), as introduced by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), strengthens current federal laws allowing private-sector workers to organize and join a union, and allowing them to bargain for better wages and benefits.
Not only does the bill facilitate workers to form a union, it also aids in completing the initial collective bargaining agreement. The bill additionally clarifies the right to strike and prohibits employers from permanently replacing striking employees and penalizes employers that violate workers’ rights.
The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (H.R. 3463/S. 1970), introduced in the House by Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08), Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), and Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-01), and Chairman Bobby Scott (DVA-03), and in the Senate by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), calls for protections for public sector employees at the federal, state, and local levels.
This bill will have the biggest impact on state and local employees who are not granted opportunities to join unions or bargain over wages, hours, and working conditions. This legislation will help teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public employees, giving them a seat at the table when it comes to making key decisions regarding the workplace. H.R. 3463 calls for public employers to recognize employees’ rights to join a union and collective bargain over wages, hours, working conditions, and allows workers to access arbitration and mediation as a means of dispute resolution.