WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted in support of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021, a bill that will make historic advancements for the American labor movement. The legislation fortifies protections for workers by modifying the National Labor Relations Act to give the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) more enforcement authority and would make it easier for workers to collectively bargain.
“Across the country, Americans are in need of stronger labor protections. This bill protects the rights of workers to collectively advocate for better health and safety protections, for fair pay for hard work, and for the right to speak up and stand together when they see wrongs that need to be righted without fear of retaliation in the workplace,” said Rep. Peters.
Rep. Peters continued: “I voted yes because basic worker protections are critical to bolstering the middle class and enabling hard-working Americans to take care of themselves and their families. I do, though, think that we must take a harder, more in-depth look at how the gig economy and other changes in the economy affect the future of the workforce – this bill did not do that job. That’s why I did not cosponsor the bill and why I cosponsored an amendment that requires a study on the impact of the bill on workers and businesses across different sectors, specifically related to the ABC test. As our economy evolves, we need comprehensive information on how labor legislation is functioning to best help our workers moving forward.”
The amendment Rep. Peters cosponsored would instruct the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the effects of the bill’s updated definitions of ‘employee’ and ‘joint employer’ under the National Labor Relations Act, with respect to collective bargaining. The amendment directs the president to review the report and, within 60 days, may recommend that Congress modify one or both of these definitions or make no recommendation. The bill does not make any changes to the definition of an ‘employee’ with respect to a state’s wage or hour laws.
Measures within the PRO Act would:
- Enhance penalties for employers who violate workers’ rights, including when employers retaliate against workers who choose to unionize or engage in other protected activities.
- Reinforce workers’ rights to join together and negotiate for better working conditions by allowing workers to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect “fair share” fees, modernizing the union election process, and facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements.
- Restore fairness by closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors by increasing transparency in labor-management relations.