Senate Candidates Should Support PRO Act or Get Out of Congress

A coalition of labor unions Launching an effortto press U.S. Senate candidates from battleground states to support the Pro-Union Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

This week, the Worker Power Coalition will begin calling, protesting and visiting the offices of senators up for reelection this fall, pressuring them into supporting the PRO Act or publicly shaming them if they don’t, according to Politico. Organizers will target legislators in Arizona, Colorado and Georgia, New Hampshire. Nevada, Virginia. Ohio. Wisconsin.

The coalition made up ofMore than 40 progressive, labor and climate groups led by severalMajor labor unions, such as Service Employees International Union and United Auto Workers (UAW), claim that it aims to make clear to voters whether candidates are pro-worker.

One way to do this, they say, is to force the PRO Act to come to a vote so that every senator’s vote is on the record, which International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) President Jimmy Williams Jr. told Politico would show voters “who the real pro-worker members of the U.S. Senate are.”

The PRO Act is a sweeping labor bill that would massively expand workers’ rights to collectively bargain and form unions, setting much harsher legal penalties on employers for violating labor laws, outlawing common union-busting tactics and ending “right-to-work” lawsAmong many other provisions. Labor advocates sayIf the bill is passed by Congress, it will be the most important and vital labor legislation this generation.

The Worker Power Coalition is active More than a yearTo bring attention to Congress’ PRO Act. The bill passed the House in March with only one Democratic dissenter (Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas), but it has yet been voted in the Senate. It’s unclear how much support it currently has in that chamber, though reporting from last year suggests that all Republicans are against the bill, as well as three Democrats — Senators Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), Mark Kelly (Arizona) and Mark Warner (Virginia).

“We have an opportunity in November to elect somebody different who we know supports the PRO Act,” Florida coalition campaign leader Curtis Hierro told Politico. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio could be reelected by Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings. who voted forLast year, the House passed the PRO Act. Rubio, on one hand, introduced a bill earlier this year that would provide an “alternative to unions,” per Politico.

“We’re going to make sure that every single voter in Florida understands clearly where Marco Rubio stands on that issue when they go to cast their vote this November,” Hierro said. “One of the great labor songs that still has relevancy is, ‘What side are you on?’ And we definitely want to make it plain for the working people of Florida — who is a great majority — what side Marco Rubio is on.”

The coalition’s push comes amid surging union popularity and activity in the U.S. Over just the past year, labor organizers have launched and wonThere are many major campaigns at companies like Amazon and Starbucks. Also, at lesser known organizations.

It’s likely that these victories are also fueling an uptick in the public’s opinion of unions; according to a Gallup poll Released late last monthUnion approval is at 71%, its highest level since 1965. This is a 23 percent increase over 2009. The same poll also found that 42 percent of working respondents are interested in joining a union, with 11 percent saying that they’re “extremely interested” in union membership.