Pascal: Right-to-Work Laws are Rooted in Racism; PRO Act Would Strike Them Down

Labor News

Reprinted from TruthOut by on March 13, 2021.

The US House of Representative passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act [last] week, with 42 House Democrats from Southern states as cosponsors.

The bill is one of the most ambitious attempts to strengthen the rights of workers and unions in decades. Its centerpiece is a provision that would override so-called “right-to-work” laws by allowing unions to collect dues from represented workers in states with such laws even if those workers have not joined the union.

“Unions benefit all workers, but especially women and workers of color,” Representative Nikema Williams, a Georgia Democrat who cosponsored the bill, said in a statement after its passage through the House.

Right-to-work laws proliferated across the Midwest in the mid-2000s. But their roots are in the Jim Crow South, in the milieu of anti-Black racism and anti-Semitism wielded by rich white Southerners and their Northern allies to maintain an economic system built on racial division and cheap labor. ..

TruthOut 3/13


How the PRO Act Restores Workers’ Right to Unionize: A Chart of the Ways the PRO Act Fixes Major Problems in Current Labor Law

Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Celine McNicholasMargaret Poydock, and Lynn Rhinehart on February 4, 2021.

Nearly half of all nonunion workers say they want a union in their workplace. That’s 400% higher than the current percentage of workers represented by a union. Current law places too many obstacles in the way of workers trying to organize and gives employers too much power to interfere with workers’ free choice.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act rectifies this. The chart below [click on the EPI link] lists some of the major problems in current labor law and how the PRO Act addresses them.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act expands workers’ rights on the job. Examples of loopholes in current labor law and how the PRO Act closes them …

EPI 2/4

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at