Media Center

Feb 7

Restoring Workers’ Power on the Job, ATU applauds House passage of the PRO Act

Silver Spring, MD – The passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 (H.R. 2474) by the House of Representatives promises to restore the power of workers to organize and negotiate on the job, says the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing the PRO Act to reaffirm the basic rights of all workers to organize and negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” said ATU International President John A. Costa. "This is the most significant improvement to U.S. labor laws in 80 years, which is long overdue. It’s time for an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.”

The PRO Act modernizes the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by bringing its remedies in line with other workplace laws, imposing appropriate financial penalties on companies that break the law. It establishes a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract, making the freedom to negotiate a reality for countless workers who form unions. The bill also makes union elections fairer by prohibiting employers from forcing their employees to attend “captive audience” meetings whose sole purpose is to convince workers to vote against the union, and which unions are shut out of.

Costa pointed to private transit employers regularly violating the NLRA with no consequences. Firing, interrogations and surveillance by these companies are all too common. Companies place massive pressure on the shoulders of low income individuals with families and tell them lies about what it means to be in a union.

“Transit employees work under difficult circumstances often for union-busting private employers, who pay them substandard wages and benefits. Bus drivers frequently get assaulted by angry passengers. Maintenance employees do their jobs under dangerous conditions, from the garages and subway tunnels they work in, to the tools they use, to the toxic exhaust they breathe,” Costa continued.  “This law allows them to organize and bargain fairly to improve their standards of living and safety on the job by preventing the ruthless, union-busting multinational companies from manipulating U.S. labor laws.

“The House passage of the PRO Act puts power back in the hands of workers and reverses decades of anti-union legislation,” Costa continued. “We call on the Senate to do the same and pass this critical and necessary legislation.”