[Pages H839-H844]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE ACT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. Torres Small of New Mexico). Under the 
Speaker's announced policy of January 3, 2019, the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Levin) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of 
the majority leader.
  Mr. LEVIN of Michigan. Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak about the 
Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a crucial piece of legislation 
that we will take up tomorrow on the floor of this House. It is so 
important that

[[Page H840]]

we take up this bill because the American economy is not working for 
most American families.
  While corporations and the wealthy continue to capture the rewards of 
a growing economy, working families and middle class Americans are 
being left behind. From 1980 to 2017, average incomes for the bottom 90 
percent of households increased just 1.1 percent, while average incomes 
for the wealthiest 1 percent increased by 184 percent.
  This inequality is not a natural product of a functioning economy. It 
is not all due to globalization or technology change. It is the result 
of policy choices that have stripped workers of the power to join 
together and negotiate for decent wages, benefits, and working 
conditions.
  The Protecting the Right to Organize Act restores fairness to the 
economy by strengthening the Federal laws that protect workers' rights 
to form a union.
  You know, our basic labor law, the National Labor Relations Act was 
passed 85 years ago in 1935. It was a core part of the New Deal. A lot 
of credit is due to the man for whom it is named, Senator Wagner of New 
York. Also, in addition to FDR, our President, our amazing Secretary of 
Labor, Frances Perkins deserves of a huge amount of credit.
  And after the Wagner Act was passed, or the National Labor Relations 
Act in 1935, within just 12 years, one-third of American workers were 
members of unions. And that figure, about a third of all workers being 
in unions, persisted for some time. But then employers went on the 
attack to try to undermine that law.
  In 1947, over President Truman's veto, the Taft Hartley amendments 
were passed, and they gutted a lot of what workers wanted in 1935. And 
then in 1959, the Landrum-Griffin amendments were passed in the 
Eisenhower era, and they further eroded workers' rights.
  So that while a third of workers were union members in the late 1940s 
and early 1950s, by the time that I started organizing workers in 1983, 
about 16\1/2\ percent of private sector workers were in unions. And 
today, in 2020, just 6.2 percent of workers in the private sector in 
our country have the voice and power of a union. And this has decimated 
the American middle class. And it has made the American Dream recede 
from view for so many American workers.
  So we are going to spend some time tonight talking about the PRO Act, 
and I want to invite my esteemed colleague from the great State of 
Minnesota, Representative Omar, to join me in saying a few words about 
the PRO Act.
  Madam Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman from Minnesota such time as 
she may consume.
  Ms. OMAR. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Levin) for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the role that organized 
labor has played in improving the lives of countless working men and 
women across this country.
  Labor unions have been the driving force for all positive change for 
workers in modern history. As a former union member myself, I can 
attest to the power that workers wield when they exercise their right 
to organize. And I have seen the incredible work that unions in 
Minnesota have accomplished when they came together to fight for 
working rights.

  On average, a worker covered by a union contract, earns over 13 
percent more in wages than someone with similar education, occupation, 
and experience in nonunionized workplaces. And unions are about so much 
more than wages. They create solidarity between workers across gender, 
race, ethnicity, and religion. That is why we need the PRO Act, and why 
we must pass it this week, and pressure the Senate to do the same.
  It will address the challenges and attacks that labor unions have 
been facing for decades that have led to the erosion of wages, a spike 
in workplace discrimination and a dangerous growth in inequality in our 
society at every turn.
  The PRO Act puts power back in the hands of workers where it belongs. 
I do not want to envision what workplaces would look like for my 
children and their grandchildren one day if we do not pass the PRO Act. 
It is a crucial step to strengthening labor rights so that we can help 
shepherd through a new generation of victories for working unions and 
members.
  Madam Speaker, I am delighted for our chairman and vice chairman on 
the Committee on Education and Labor for their work in championing 
labor rights on behalf of American workers.
  Mr. LEVIN of Michigan. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative Omar for 
being such a champion of workers in Minnesota and throughout this great 
Nation and, indeed, throughout our world.
  Madam Speaker, I will take a few moments to talk about the breadth of 
this bill.
  What has happened to workers in this country over the last several 
decades is the result of many administrative actions by various 
administrations, regulatory actions that administrations have taken 
that stripped workers of their rights, judicial decisions from the 
lower courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, and laws passed by 
the Congress and the States, to the point where millions and millions 
of workers aren't even covered by the National Labor Relations Act, 
can't even exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations 
Act, and the rights that they have are so badly eroded that, 
functionally, workers don't have the freedom to form unions in this 
country.
  And Representative Omar referenced Chairman Scott. Chairman Scott and 
the staff of this committee have done such an incredible job at looking 
at the complexity of the workplace in 2020 and including the many ways 
in which we need to make changes to help workers.
  I want to highlight several things: The first is the problem of 
multiple employers and protecting employees of multiple employers.
  The PRO Act will make it so that two or more persons are employers 
under the National Labor Relations Act, if each codetermines or shares 
control over the employees' essential terms and conditions of 
employment. It basically codifies the joint employer standard in the 
NLRB's Browning-Ferris decision of 2015. And this is extremely 
important because in a lot of industries, employers have tried to evade 
their responsibility to workers under the National Labor Relations Act 
through various schemes of corporate organization so that the company 
that really is in charge, that really determines what uniform they 
wear, what route they drive, what kind of products they serve, 
everything about their job, is not considered an employer under the 
act.
  The PRO Act will fix that, and it is very important to help millions 
of workers get their rights under the NLRA.
  Another huge problem of excluding workers from accessing their rights 
is misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
  The PRO Act will fix this problem by using a simple three-part test 
to determine whether someone is an employee or an independent 
contractor. And this will help, again, another set of millions of 
workers gain access to their rights and clarify that they are covered 
as workers, as employees under the National Labor Relations Act. So 
they can form a union, bargain collectively, get a contract, and get 
justice.
  Another major area of the law involves protecting workers in their 
right to engage in protected activities. So let's talk about workers 
going on strike.
  The PRO Act will prohibit employers from permanently replacing 
workers who go on strike. This is hugely important, because permanent 
replacement of strikers has been a tactic used over the last, really, 
40 years to deter workers from engaging in strikes at all and taking 
away this very core right of withholding your labor as a way to try to 
get better working conditions.
  I remember what happened in, for example, the meat packing industry, 
which used to be a largely unionized industry. And the workers' 
organizations were largely destroyed by preventing workers from 
engaging in strikes, to the point where their wages and benefits were 
cut massively and many of their facilities were moved, and they 
couldn't do anything about it.
  Another thing that the PRO Act will do is prohibit offensive 
lockouts. Under current law, employers may offensively

[[Page H841]]

lock out employees in the absence of a threatened strike with the goal 
of the employer being to curtail the workers' ability to strike by 
removing workers control over the timing and duration of a work 
stoppage.
  Current law also permits employers to hire temporary replacements 
during an offensive lockout. So if the employer thinks there might be a 
labor dispute, even if the workers hadn't planned to go on strike, they 
lock the workers out and temporarily replace them, stripping them of 
their ability to make their own strategy about how they want to enforce 
their right under the act.
  The PRO Act prohibits any lockouts prior to strike but it maintains 
employers' rights to respond to strikes with defensive lockouts, which 
is appropriate.
  Another key change that the PRO Act would put into law after all 
these years from the Taft-Hartley amendments is removing limitations on 
secondary strikes. The idea here is that the Congress in 1947 said that 
workers of one company can't engage in collective activity in 
solidarity with workers in another company.
  Workers might picket or strike or support a boycott in solidarity 
with other workers to improve the other workers on their own, perhaps, 
wages and working conditions.

                              {time}  1845

  Being allowed to protest however you want in America about what some 
other company might be doing is a fundamental First Amendment right.
  This has been something that has bothered me for decades. It is 
fundamentally unfair in this country, and the PRO Act would fix this by 
allowing workers to have their full freedoms to engage in secondary 
activity.
  A crucial thing that the PRO Act would do to help workers vindicate 
their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is prohibiting 
captive audience meetings.
  So it is hard for people who haven't been through a union organizing 
campaign to really understand how absurd it is to claim that a union 
election is sort of just like a political election, where you go down 
to the local school or church or wherever you vote, and you get in line 
and they check whether you are on the voting rolls, and you cast your 
ballot in a little booth. You wouldn't dream of putting your job at 
risk or that anybody could do something to you for how you vote in 
America; it is a core thing.
  That is not how it works in a union election. And one of the things 
that employers have been allowed to do is they can force you to attend 
a meeting, the sole purpose of which is to pressure you not to vote for 
a union. They can do that every time you go to work. They can do it for 
your whole shift.
  If you say, ``I have been to five of your presentations about the 
union; I don't want to go anymore,'' you can be fired for not going to 
the employer's propaganda offensive against forming a union. It is 
something, without parallel, in American law and in our economy only to 
prohibit or try to prevent workers from forming a union.
  So the PRO Act will change this at long last and say that people have 
their First Amendment rights, we are all grownups here, and your 
employer cannot make you go to an antiunion captive audience meeting on 
pain of termination.
  I am sorry it took until 2020 for us to get to this point, but at 
long last we are saying captive audience meetings have no place in 
workers' decisions about forming unions.
  There are a lot of other really important provisions I want to get 
to, but at this time I want to invite my esteemed colleague from the 
great State of Massachusetts, Representative Ayanna Pressley, to join 
in this discussion of why it is so important that we pass the 
Protecting the Right to Organize Act.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Massachusetts (Ms. 
Pressley).
  Ms. PRESSLEY. Madam Speaker, today I rise in solidarity with my union 
brothers and sisters in support of the Protecting the Right to Organize 
Act.
  Over the last few decades, we have seen the right to unionize, to ban 
together, and to fight for the collective rights and dignities of 
working people come under attack.
  Throughout our Nation's history, these rights and protections have 
led to better wages and benefits, safer working conditions, and 
protections from workplace harassment and discrimination.
  The hard-won battles of our Nation's unions have helped push back 
against the vast economic inequities that too often are fueled by the 
greed of big corporations and special interests.
  I have witnessed many of these victories firsthand, from my early 
days on the picket lines with my mother, Sandy--may she rest in power--
who taught me early on that our destinies are tied, that workers' 
rights are human rights, and that economic justice is workers' justice.
  This is still true today, and the fight continues, from the Stop & 
Shop workers, who walked out and fought back for better healthcare for 
workers and their families, to the Battery Wharf Hotel workers, who 
braved the elements for 79 days fighting for livable wages and 
protections for immigrant workers, pregnant workers, and workers of 
color.
  We cannot and must not take this power for granted.
  But for too many workers, ``right-to-work laws'' and other calculated 
efforts in States across the country have attempted to diminish the 
power of workers. This ends this week as the House considers the PRO 
Act, legislation that will protect critical rights to unionize and 
protect the rights of workers.
  Madam Speaker, I thank Representative  Bobby Scott for his leadership 
on this bill to honor and affirm a union's right to their collective 
voice. I also thank my colleague, my brother from Michigan, for 
organizing this effort.
  Madam Speaker, I look forward to supporting this bill, and I urge my 
colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. LEVIN of Michigan. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative Pressley 
for being such a great champion for workers in Massachusetts and in our 
whole country.
  Madam Speaker, I now yield to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. 
Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, I want to definitely thank my 
colleague from Michigan and also my colleague from Massachusetts for 
being here to support workers.
  I believe that it is the labor movement that brought us the middle 
class. The height was really after World War II, where we saw that 
wages were going up for everyone--the wealthiest, the middle class, 
poor people could get jobs that would get them out of poverty--and the 
labor movement, the right of workers to organize, made the difference, 
to fight together, work together for better wages and working 
conditions.
  So, today, I rise in enthusiastic support before the House of 
Representatives for H.R. 2474, the Protect the Right to Organize Act, 
for a vote that is going to take place tomorrow in the House of 
Representatives.
  The right to form a union, which has been eroded over the last 
several decades, and the right to take collective action in the 
workplace and the right to exercise one's First Amendment rights in the 
form of secondary boycotts are fundamental, and it is past time that we 
as Americans promote their values.
  For too long, employers have been able to violate the National Labor 
Relations Act with impunity, routinely denying workers their basic 
right to join with coworkers for fairness on the job. As a result, the 
collective strength of workers to negotiate for better pay and for 
better benefits has eroded, and income inequality in the United States 
of America has reached levels that predate the Great Depression.

  What is worse is that this is a rather predictable outcome. It is not 
surprising if workers don't have the right to organize that their wages 
are not going to go up.
  But I want to share a story. It is a story of a woman named Yiran 
Zhang. She is a graduate worker at Loyola College in my district, in 
Chicago, Loyola Chicago.
  Yiran Zhang's parents raised their child to be a believer that 
education was the path to a better life. They moved to the United 
States from China when she was almost 2 years old. So she has grown up 
here. Her parents moved to the United States to earn their Ph.D.'s and 
work as graduate workers.

[[Page H842]]

  Years later, Yiran decided to follow in her parents' footsteps by 
pursuing a Ph.D. The philosophy major quickly learned that a lot has 
changed in the world since her parents were graduate workers like she 
is now.

       We're struggling to make a living. The expectations are the 
     same, but the conditions in higher education are so 
     different.

  The expectations of the job, she means, are the same.
  She says:

       As a graduate worker, I've had to miss paying bills, to 
     skip doctor's appointments, and even work two or three 
     additional jobs to cover living expenses. I'm fighting for a 
     union because I know it is only by standing together with my 
     colleagues that we can change any of this.

  So Yiran and other Loyola graduate workers came together to form a 
union to make improvements in the school's administration. They found 
that the administration actually dismissed them and used the legal 
system to fight their efforts.
  Yiran sees unions as the only way for graduate workers to be heard. I 
actually stood with them at a demonstration, and she said:

       I've seen that the only way that we've been able to get our 
     administration to listen is by doing sit-ins and walkouts and 
     taking action together. Teachers across the country and 
     people who work at things like Stop & Shop have had the same 
     experience.

  In addition to having a seat at the table, Loyola graduate workers 
are fighting for a higher stipend and the establishment of summer 
funding, which will give them the ability to do important research and 
writing over the summer instead of having to take on multiple part-time 
jobs just to make ends meet. They also want more professional support, 
including clear grievance procedures and accountability.
  So, for young women like Yiran, the ability to join and unionize 
would mean that she would be able to truly build on the foundations 
started by her parents. She says:

       I am fighting for a living wage, respect for my labor, and 
     a better life. I shouldn't have to seek outside work up to 30 
     hours a week on top of my graduate worker hours just to make 
     ends meet at the cost of finishing my program on time or 
     being the best scholar and educator that I can be. Academia 
     shouldn't be just for the privileged. Negotiating a fair 
     contract with graduate workers is the first step toward 
     addressing these harmful systemic issues.

  I am going to quit. I have taken more than my time, I think. But I 
wanted to give you a true-life example of a woman who is trying to do 
her best in her job as a student worker, as a graduate worker, and 
because she can't organize, she can't get the benefits and the wages 
that she deserves. This is typical of what is going on in our country 
and is creating the income inequality that we see right now.
  Mr. LEVIN of Michigan. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative 
Schakowsky for her words. I am so glad she shared that story from 
Loyola. It reminds me of another situation of graduate employees that 
many of us, our colleagues, are working on right now.
  Graduate employees of Harvard, in all kinds of labs, in the social 
sciences and in the arts, all the different departments, formed a union 
and were recognized something like 18 months ago by the Harvard 
administration, but they have never achieved a first contract.
  I think something like over 20 colleagues joined me in sending a 
letter to the president of Harvard University, 20-some of us who are 
graduates. I am a graduate of Harvard Law School, and other people are 
graduates from the law school, undergraduates from Harvard University, 
the Kennedy School, doctors, whatever.
  We all sent a letter to President Bacow saying we are happy that you 
recognized the union, but unless workers get a first contract, what 
have they really achieved? And we hope that both sides will come 
together and achieve a first contract. We continue to watch that 
situation.
  So graduate employees, like others, need the freedom and the ability 
to form unions.
  I want to hit on a few other areas that the PRO Act deals with, and 
my theme tonight really is what a comprehensive jobs bill does in 
trying to fix problems that prevent workers from exercising their 
rights.

                              {time}  1900

  Here is another one. The PRO Act will eliminate employers' ability to 
unilaterally withdraw recognition from a union. Now, this is problem 
created more recently.
  On July 3, 2019, the Trump NLRB issued a decision in Johnson 
Controls, Incorporated that would allow an employer to announce that it 
will withdraw recognition of a union within a 90-day timeframe before 
the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, based on its own 
idea that the union has lost majority support. This is just such a good 
example of what has happened over and over with workers' rights being 
chipped away at.
  And so the PRO Act would overturn this decision and prohibit 
employers from unilaterally withdrawing recognition of a union, unless 
there is an election to decertify the union; just like the workers 
would have gone through an election to create the union in the first 
place.
  Speaking of first contracts, almost half the time when workers 
organize in this country, they don't have a first contract within a 
year or two. And if you don't have a contract by then, you are not 
likely ever to get one. If you can't bargain collectively, what have 
you really accomplished by winning a union election?
  So it is really crucial that we have first contracts. The PRO Act 
fixes this problem. It basically sets up a system of mediation and 
arbitration to ensure workers get a contract. It goes like this: Upon a 
written request from the union, they have to commence bargaining in 10 
days.
  If, within 90 days, they haven't achieved a first contract, either 
party can request mediation. After 30 days of mediation, if there isn't 
a first contract, the case will be referred to arbitration; and the 
arbitration panel must be established within 14 days. And there are 
sensible procedures about a three-person arbitration panel, fairly 
picked, with each side picking one and then agreeing on the third.
  Bottom line here: In 144 days, 7\1/2\ weeks from when the election is 
decided and the union is certified, there will be arbitration. There is 
no timeline for a decision, but that is reasonable because the 
arbitrators do this as a profession; they know how to do it; and I 
think we can count on them to be timely. And the decision of the 
arbitrators is binding for 2 years.
  So bottom line, if the company doesn't want to negotiate, if the 
workers are having a hard time getting the company to the table, they 
can go to mediation and arbitration, and in 7\1/2\ weeks, they can have 
an arbitration panel hearing their case. It's a complete sea change 
from today, and very important.
  Another right that workers have been denied is the right to 
collective action in the courtroom, to sue their employer, to go to 
court to vindicate their rights.
  The NLRA protects workers' rights to engage in concerted activities 
for the purpose of mutual aid and protection. It is that broad.
  But, on May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court held in Epic Systems 
Corporation v. Lewis that, despite this explicit protection, employers 
may force workers into signing arbitration agreements that waive the 
right to pursue work litigation jointly, collectively, or in a class 
action, despite the specific language of the NLRA.
  So, the PRO Act would overturn that decision by explicitly stating 
that employers may not require employees to waive their rights to 
collective action in the courtroom, including class action litigation.
  I started organizing unions in 1983, and I remember learning about 
the Excelsior list; the list that employers have to provide unions so 
that they can know who the workers are and help them organize the 
union. You can only get this list after you have a showing of interest 
required under the act, so there is a whole process for this.
  But the lists we got were often garbage. They were wrong. They would 
only have a person's first name or last name. They didn't have the 
information required.
  So the National Labor Relations Board decided in 2014 that there has 
to be certain information in a list, and it has to be searchable in 
electronic format; very common sense. Employee's full name, their home 
address, work location, shift, job classification and, if the employer 
has it, their land line and

[[Page H843]]

mobile telephone numbers and email addresses.
  What is the context here?
  I can tell you from personal experience, when we talk about workers 
having the right to organize, they don't actually have the right to 
have access to union organizers in their workplace.
  When I was organizing for SEIU, and in the 11 years I served as the 
assistant director of organizing at the national AFL-CIO, if we were 
helping workers at a facility organize and we walked on to that 
property, the employer would arrest us for trespassing.
  Workers in the United States have no right to actually have access to 
unions in their workplace; so their only way to talk to representatives 
of the union is on the phone, or email, or at their homes. So the PRO 
Act makes clear that those lists have to be adequate, it's another 
thing that may seem small; but if we fix it, we are going to help a lot 
more workers exercise their rights.
  Another thing that happens very often is that employers gerrymander 
the bargaining unit that the National Labor Relations Board finds in 
which to hold an election.
  So the PRO Act codifies the National Labor Relations Board's 2011 
decision in Specialty Healthcare, and prevents employers from doing 
this gerrymandering; prevents them from including individuals in the 
voting unit who have no interest in joining the union, but they are 
simply put there to try to pad the ``no'' vote to prevent the workers 
from succeeding in forming a union.
  Another thing about union elections that are different from any 
normal election in a democracy is the workers usually vote in their 
workplace after an intense campaign from their employer to try to stop 
them from forming a union.
  So the PRO Act enables the board to hold union representation 
elections electronically, through certified mail, or off-site, at a 
neutral location, to ensure that the employees can cast their ballots 
in a neutral, non-coercive environment.

  It may seem incredibly basic in any election, but I am telling you, 
for the last 50 years, all union elections have taken place under 
physical conditions of pressure and coercion in an employer's 
workplace, almost all of them.
  A related matter that, again, seems shocking to many; if you took a 
civics class or any class about government or American history and you 
learned how elections are supposed to take place, this is a unique 
aspect.
  In a union election, where it is just supposed to be workers deciding 
whether or not they want to form a union, under our system, the 
employer has been a party to the election. The workers file a petition. 
The employer is deemed a party, and then they get to engage in 
litigation, delay, in order to advance their interest, which always is 
to stop their workers from forming a union.
  So the PRO Act says no more. We are not having outside entities 
interfering with employees' decisions about whether to join a union or 
not join a union. It is just up to the workers.
  This would harmonize the NLRB's procedures with those of the National 
Mediation Board under the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor 
relations for railways and airlines and in this area it works much 
better.
  Another question is: What do you do if an employer is found to have 
systematically interfered with the workers' right to form a union?
  What has happened regularly is the employer does anything to destroy 
a majority who may have signed cards seeking union representation, 
which leads to the election, and to get the workers to vote ``no'' even 
if a majority of them signed union cards.
  A showing of interest to obtain an election for workers doesn't 
require a majority. It requires, I think, 30 percent.
  But what the PRO Act says is, if a majority of people said they 
wanted to have a union, an absolute majority, they signed authorization 
cards, and then the employer set about and destroyed the majority 
through means that the National Labor Relations Board determined were 
illegal, the NLRB has a remedy that it shall issue an order requiring 
the employer to bargain, taking away the incentive and the ability of 
employers to destroy workers' majorities through illegal activities.
  Another area that has been so lacking in our labor laws has to do 
with penalties. And again, if you are a civil rights lawyer or activist 
concerned with women's rights, or the rights of religious minorities, 
or the rights of racial minorities, you wouldn't believe this: In all 
other areas of civil rights laws, laws protecting rights of Americans, 
there are various forms of penalties to try to disincentivize violating 
American's rights; pain and suffering, treble damages, different--it 
depends on the statute and the area.
  Here is the way it works under the National Labor Relations Act. If I 
am fired for trying to form a union, and the employer does it totally 
on purpose, just to destroy, scare everybody else, they succeed in 
killing the union drive, that was their goal; and there is litigation, 
the union backs me up. If, 3 years later, a judge finds they absolutely 
fired you for union activity, they violated your rights, you are right, 
you get your remedy. The remedy is this: Single back pay minus anything 
you made in the meantime. It is shocking.
  Working people aren't going to stop working in the hopes that someday 
they will be found to have had their rights violated. They have to feed 
their family. So employers basically have gotten away with violating 
people's rights, and the penalty has been, often, virtually nothing.
  So under the PRO Act, if an employee has been discharged or suffered 
serious economic harm in violation of the act, now the NLRB will award 
back pay, without any reduction, front pay, consequential damages, and 
an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to two times the 
amount of damages awarded, which is, essentially, the normal kind of 
punitive damages awarded in this kind of case, to incentivize the 
employers not to violate the law.
  Also, the workers cannot have their relief denied if they are an 
undocumented worker.
  So let me just mention one other area where this law will help 
workers so much; just to vindicate their basic right of association and 
speech in the workplace, to come together and form a union and bargain 
collectively. It refers to the same situation I just mentioned.
  If they fire you for trying to form a union, what happens?
  Their principal motive really isn't about you as an individual. It is 
about the group. They are trying to scare you out of forming a union.

                              {time}  1915

  They will fire the ringleaders. They will fire one, five, however 
many people they think are necessary to basically have the workers fear 
moving forward to vindicate their rights.
  Often in these cases, the courts ultimately may determine 6 months, 1 
year, 5 years later that you were fired for union activity, but the 
union drive was killed long ago. It is immediate. It was killed within 
a day or weeks.
  So the PRO Act requires the NLRB to seek temporary injunctive relief 
whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that an employer 
unlawfully terminated an employee or significantly interfered with 
employees' rights under the NLRA. And the district court is directed to 
grant temporary relief for the duration of the NLRB proceedings.
  Essentially, they are saying: I am firing you because you did 
something wrong on the job. That can be determined after the election, 
but we are not going to let employers fire workers to scare their 
coworkers out of exercising their rights.
  Madam Speaker, these are just a few of the ways that the PRO Act will 
help American workers at long last exercise their freedom to form 
unions and bargain collectively. I am telling you, we have passed so 
much legislation that would help American workers and their families, 
the Raise the Wage Act, protection for people with preexisting 
conditions, lowering prescription drug costs, but there is no bill that 
comes close to this one and the impact it could have on American 
families and workers.
  MIT did a study, and it found that just under half of nonunion 
workers say they would like to form a union if they just had the 
freedom to do it. Gallup every year studies people's attitudes toward 
unions. They have been

[[Page H844]]

doing this the same way for decades. They found the highest approval 
rating of unions in decades, yet just 6 percent of private-sector 
workers have unions.
  If workers were free to form unions in this country, and not half of 
all nonunion workers but just a fraction of them so we got back up to 
say a third of workers being in unions in this country again, our 
economy would be completely transformed because when workers form 
unions it is not just they themselves who benefit. Other employers 
raise their wages to compete to attract workers or to try to get their 
workers not to form a union. That is fine. It benefits all workers in 
this country. It benefits their children and their communities.
  It is just an honor to be here to talk about the PRO Act. I am really 
proud of being one of Chairman Scott's lieutenants in this effort. 
Tomorrow, we are going to pass this legislation and give a leg up to 
all the working people in this country who just want to get their 
little piece of the American Dream.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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