USW Urges Passage of Bill to Protect Workers’ Rights

CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-3312, rhouseman@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, as a means of empowering workers, reducing poverty and boosting the U.S. economy.

“The ability to form a union is one of the surest ways to improving economic outcomes,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard wrote in the letter sent to members of Congress this week. “In order to unlock the potential benefits of unionization, workers need Congress to address the ability of employers to flaunt current labor laws.”

The bill would increase protections for workers who engage in union organizing and other collective action in their workplaces, and also would increase penalties on employers who violate workers’ rights.

The PRO Act would “empower future generations of workers to act collectively,” Gerard wrote.

The House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on the proposed legislation on Wednesday, May 8. Testifying before the committee will be AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, among other labor law experts.

The USW has been working with the AFL-CIO and other unions to build support for labor law reform, participating in briefings and meetings across Capitol Hill. Last week, USW Organizing Director Maria Somma met with members of the Blue Collar Caucus to highlight the illegal tactics employers use and how the lack of penalties creates a culture of fear in many workplaces.

Protecting workers’ rights allows them to reach their full economic potential, which will benefit all Americans, Gerard wrote.

“Workers are routinely threatened with plant closure, job displacement, or economic harm,” he said. “Now is the time for Congress to act and provide millions of America’s workers with the tools they need to secure a better future for themselves and their families.”

A copy of Gerard’s letter to Congress can be found here.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222