AFL-CIO plans National Day of Action April 8 for Pro Act
FIVE HOLDOUTS WORKERS ARE PRESSURING: Four Democratic senators and one Independent senator have not gotten on board with history. They threaten to blow up labor law reform. They are, from left to right, Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, Sen. Angus King, the Independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, Sen. Mark Warner from Virginia, and Sen. Mark Kelly from Arizona. | AP composite photo

WASHINGTON —The AFL-CIO plans a “National Day of Action” on April 8, during the congressional recess, to have workers lobby senators to pass the Protect The Right To Organize (Pro) Act, Postal Workers President Mark Dimondstein announced. If four Democratic holdouts and one independent can be turned around the act will become law.

Dimondstein, a member of the federation’s policy-making Executive Council, disclosed the plans for the day of action in a March 30 zoom teleconference with his union’s members.

“Get involved with these fights, the fight for voting rights and the fight for workers’ rights,” he urged at the very end of the 1-1/2-hour conference call. He gave no details.

The Democratic-run House passed the PROAct in March, with all but one Democrat voting for it, along with five Republicans backing it. The rest of the GOP opposed it. The Senate, split 50-50 between the two parties, is another matter.

Sources told The Intercept that Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka he would not bring the PROAct (HR842) to the floor unless it has 50 sponsors and co-sponsors. It has 45 right now.  No Republicans are expected to sign on.

The five Democratic holdouts are Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, both from Arizona, Mark Warner from Virginia, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Angus King, the Independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats.

Democratic President Joe Biden strongly supports the PROAct, and added it to his outspoken endorsement of the union organizing drive at Amazon’s big Bessemer, Ala., warehouse. Results from the recognition election there, among 5,805 workers, were due on or after April 2.

“All of us deserve to enjoy America’s promise in full—and our nation’s leaders have a responsibility to deliver it,” Biden said before the House vote. “That starts with rebuilding unions.”

“Unions give workers a stronger voice to increase wages, improve the quality of jobs and protect job security, protect against racial and all other forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, and protect workers’ health, safety, and benefits in the workplace. Unions lift up workers, both union and non-union.  They are critical to strengthening our economic competitiveness.

“But too many employers and states prevent them from doing so through anti-union attacks. They know that without unions, they can run the table on workers–union and non-union alike. We should all remember the National Labor Relations Act didn’t just say we shouldn’t hamstring unions or merely tolerate them. It said we should encourage unions. The PROAct would take critical steps to help restore this intent.”

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CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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