Strikes are becoming more common nationwide as many workers band together to fight for their rights. However, a strike requires a union to be most effective, and unions aren’t nearly as common as they used to be.
A new law being considered by Congress intends to change that. The PRO Act is a new workers’ rights bill that puts labor and unions on an equal footing with big corporations. Keep reading to learn what this bill covers and how it may affect California citizens.
What Is the PRO Act?
The PRO Act is another name for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, and it’s a landmark bill designed to help people create and join unions.
Unions are more popular than many people realize. In fact, two-thirds of Americans support unions. However, in the US, there are only 14 million union members, despite this widespread support.
Why is there such a difference? It’s because people are scared about the consequences of fighting their employers. There are entire organizations specifically dedicated to making it harder for workers to unionize. While it’s illegal for a company to fire workers specifically because they try to form a union, current at-will employment laws give companies many ways to fire union advocates anyway. Workers are rightfully worried that they’ll lose their jobs if they advocate for better conditions.
Of course, big businesses don’t want their staff to unionize. Unions force companies to do things like spend more on safety measures and block mandatory overtime. Unions are directly responsible for basic quality of life things like:
- Overtime pay
- Safety standards
- The 40-hour workweek
- Health insurance and benefits
Companies who want to make a profit would prefer if they didn’t have to provide any of those things. As a result, union-busting is all too common.
The PRO Act aims to change that. If it goes through, it would:
- Overturn all right-to-work laws, allowing unions to require workers to join the union to work in unionized businesses
- Classify many freelancers and gig-workers as full employees, subject to all the protections and rights that entails
- Protect bargaining rights and prevent union-busting by adding stricter, enforceable standards and penalties to the bargaining process
The PRO Act and California Law
What will the PRO Act mean for California? It would consolidate many laws that are already on the books. The law, in many ways, is an improved version of AB 5, the bill that famously attempted to provide more protections for gig workers.
The law has refined elements of AB 5 and gives workers more room to bargain. It also closes loopholes that allow companies to ignore those requirements. For California citizens, the implementation of the new law would protect their rights as workers at a federal level.
Fight for Your Rights Today
There’s no reason to wait for the PRO Act to be approved to fight for your rights. You have the right to organize, and no company should take that away. If you’ve faced illegal employment discrimination for trying to organize, reach out for help today. A workers’ rights attorney will help you put together your case and hold the company accountable. Get in touch to begin the process of reclaiming your right to fair employment.