Congressional Democrats Reintroduce Sweeping Labor Bill

On May 2, Democrats in Congress formally introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act with 100 cosponsors in the House (H.R.2474) and 40 in the Senate (S.1306). The PRO Act sponsors provided a fact sheet and section-by-section analysis on the bill, which is nearly identical to last session’s Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act (H.R. 6080, 115th Congress).

The bill attempts to implement several highly contentious policies from the Obama administration that have been struck down by courts, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, or have been abandoned by the federal agencies charged with implementing them. These include, but are not limited to, codifying the Obama-era joint-employer standard into law, banning right-to-work laws, forcing union representation without an election, and undermining independent contractor status.

The House Education & Labor Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Wednesday, May 8, at 2 pm (ET).  The Committee will mark up the bill shortly thereafter, and Democratic Leadership may try to pass the bill out of the House as early as this summer.

The measure is likely to pass in the House, but it’s considered a long shot in the Republican-controlled Senate. Still, the proposal may become significant for the more than 20 Democrats running for president as they seek organized labor’s support on the road to the White House. The proposal, and whether candidates support it, will likely be used by labor unions as a way to choose candidates worthy of their endorsement ahead of the 2020 election.

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