On 9 March 2021, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 842) passed in the House of Representatives. This bill expands various labour protections related to employees' rights to organise and collectively bargain in the workplace. Among other things, it revises the definitions of employee, supervisor and employer and broadens the scope of individuals covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, potentially paving the way for gig workers at companies like Lyft and Uber to organise.
In addition, the bill addresses the procedures for union representation elections and provides employees with the ability to vote in such elections remotely by telephone or the internet. This measure would weaken “right-to-work” laws in twenty-seven states that currently allow employees to be exempt from paying fees to unions that represent them. The bill also makes it an unfair labour practice to require or coerce employees to attend employer meetings designed to discourage union membership and prohibits employers from entering into agreements with employees under which employees waive the right to pursue or join collective or class-action litigation.
Finally, the bill provides for greater protection of strikes and striking workers. Under the instrument, secondary strikes are now authorised, while discriminatory measures and acts of retaliation by employers against strikers are prohibited.
The bill has now advanced to the U.S. Senate. The passing of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would be a landmark worker empowerment in the country.