March 03, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Help Introduce Bill to Protect Workers’ Right to Organize


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined the bipartisan and bicameral Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2023a comprehensive proposal to protect workers’ right to come together and bargain for higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces.

“Every American deserves to work in a safe, good-paying job that allows them to support their families and save for a secure retirement, and it is unacceptable that in some states with anti-union laws—so-called ‘right to work’ laws—some workers aren’t given that same chance,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the PRO Act to support workers by protecting the right to unionize, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support hardworking Illinoisans and all Americans against corporate greed.”

“Our country was built on foundational labor rights—fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to health care.  As someone who grew up in a union household, I know how important it is to working families to have the backing of a union,” said Durbin.  “I’m standing up for our nation’s unions by supporting the PRO Act, which will push back against harmful anti-worker attacks and ensure that workers have a right to collective bargaining.”

Unions are critical to growing a strong middle class, reducing racial income disparities and creating an economy that rewards hardworking people. Studies show that unions also raise wages for both union and nonunion workers.

Public support for labor unions is also surging. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 71 percent of Americans approve of labor unions—the highest that Gallup has recorded since 1965.

The PRO Act restores fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal law that protects workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher pay, better benefits and safer workplaces. This legislation would:

  • Hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights by authorizing meaningful penalties, facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements and closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors.
  • Empower workers to exercise their right to organize by strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights, protecting workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect “fair share” fees and authorizing a private right of action for violation of workers’ rights.
  • Secure free, fair, and safe union elections by preventing employers from interfering in union elections, prohibiting captive audience meetings and requiring employers to be transparent with their workers.

For the bill text of the PRO Act, click here.

For a fact sheet on the PRO Act, click here.

For a section-by-section summary of the PRO Act, click here.