September 09, 2022

Duckworth Joins Senator Warren and Representative Sherman to Reintroduce the Nationwide Right to Unionize Act, Call for Passage of the PRO Act


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) in reintroducing the Nationwide Right to Unionize Act, which would support the right to unionize by prohibiting states from banning union security agreements through “right-to-work” laws.

“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—or so-called ‘right to work’ laws—some workers aren’t given that same chance,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to join Senator Warren and my colleagues in reintroducing legislation that would support workers by finally enshrining into law the right to unionize, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support hardworking Illinoisans and all Americans against corporate greed.”

Twenty-seven states have enacted “right-to-work” laws that prevent unions from collecting dues from non-union members who are covered under a union-negotiated contract. These laws make it more difficult for workers to form unions and fight for higher wages and better working conditions in the states that adopt them, resulting in a 5% decrease in unionization rates and a decrease in average wages for all full-time workers of 3.1%, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, or about $11,000 a year, according to a report released by Rep. Sherman’s office.

“Republicans and their corporate interest backers have imposed state laws with only one goal: destroy unions and discourage workers from organizing for higher wages, fair benefits, and safer working conditions,” said Senator Warren. “At a time when labor unions are growing in both size, popularity, and delivering real wins for workers, Democrats are making clear that we stand in solidarity with workers everywhere, from Starbucks baristas to Google cafeteria workers and everyone in between.” 

“So called ‘right-to-work’ laws are designed to make it difficult to organize a union,” said Representative Sherman. “This impacts not only workers who want a union – but general wage levels throughout the state. In an ill-conceived effort to attract business, one state after another has adopted these anti-union laws in a race to the bottom. That is why today I’m proud to partner with Senator Warren to reintroduce the National Right to Unionize Act – legislation I’ve introduced in every session of Congress since 2008.”

Along with Duckworth and Warren, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Wyden (D-OR), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN),  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Along with Sherman, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA-08), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Dan Kildee (D-MI-05), Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07).

This legislation is endorsed by The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Steelworkers, Transport Workers Union of America, International Union of Operating Engineers, Communications Workers of America Union, Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Association of Machinists, United Food & Commercial Workers Union, and Aerospace Workers, Economic Policy Institute, Worker Power Coalition and National Employment Law Project.