ND Labor Groups: PRO Act Is About Accountability
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its opponents, but North Dakota unions who back the plan say it's important to look beyond the rhetoric.
Sponsors of the PRO Act said a key goal is to make it easier for workers to unionize. It also would override "Right to Work Laws" in 27 states, including North Dakota.
Opponents say that removes choices for workers who don't want to join a union.
Bob Wolf, organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 714 in Minot, said they can opt out. He argued dues-collection language ensures they contribute to efforts to secure benefits they receive.
"It costs the folks that are members money to negotiate a contract, to fight grievances, and you don't go to a potluck and not bring anything," Wolf asserted.
This month, unions from across the country held rallies in hopes of convincing senators still on the fence about the bill. They said the effort centers around blocking businesses who use intimidation tactics to stall union organizing. Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce countered the PRO Act would do more harm to workplaces than good, while disrupting the economy.
Wolf contended it goes beyond wages and the ability to hold union elections. He added giving organized labor more tools to operate paves the way for safer working conditions.
"You know, we don't see everything out in the field, and that's where when the members come back and say, 'You know, we're being asked to do this in an unsafe manner or an unsafe way,'" Wolf recounted.
Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, said as for prohibiting interference, workers should have the right to openly discuss union possibilities without looking over their shoulder, or being forced to attend company-sponsored informational sessions.
"They call them captive-audience meetings with the employees," Larson explained. "It is very intimidating when you're looking at the people that actually give you your money for a paycheck. It's a real chilling effect."
The House approved the PRO Act in March, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Disclosure: The North Dakota AFL-CIO contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…
INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …
Health and Wellness
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …