During his first appearance as USW president on The Leslie Marshall Show, Tom Conway talked about the irony of fighting for organizing rights in a country that touts itself for its freedoms.
Workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet in an economy that looks far different from that of the past. But, as Conway said, that was a time dominated by strong labor unions, which lifted millions out of poverty.
“So much of that had to do with having an honest, free, trade labor movement that could push back against capital and corporate powers that are taking over our government in so many ways,” said Conway.
Along with lobbying Congress to draft bills that benefit their bottom lines, corporations also do whatever they can to dismantle organizing drives in their workplaces. From firing union supporters to forcing employees to attend mandatory “captive audience” meetings that are merely anti-union charades, the abuse is rampant.
“These companies would never do business without a contract between their vendors and suppliers,” Conway said. “But God forbid the workers say, ‘We just want a binding contract about what goes on between us and management,’ and you’d think they’d asked for their first born.”
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474/ S 1306) would establish stronger and swifter remedies to stop employers from breaking labor law, prohibit employers from forcing employees to attend anti-union meetings, and more. It would also make companies recognize contractors as part of the collective bargaining process so they can no longer continue to whittle down union membership by subcontracting.
In short, it would empower future generations of workers to act collectively.
“This is a bill that is about giving workers a choice to make a decision and collectively bargain with their employers, which is a system that works,” said Conway.
The PRO Act, introduced in the U.S. House in May, would ensure workers have the right to organize without interference and make their workplaces safer and their lives richer.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Conway said. “The PRO Act recognizes that.”