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February 5, 2020

Rep. Pressley Speaks in Support of the PRO Act

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WASHINGTON – Today, ahead of a House vote on the bill, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 2474 – the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, bold legislation to strengthen the right of all American workers to organize and negotiate for higher wages, better benefits and safer working conditions.

Congresswoman Pressley is a steadfast advocate for worker’s rights and protecting the right to unionize. Last year, she led the effort to secure backpay for low-wage federal contract workers who went unpaid during the 35-day partial government shutdown. She’s also joined on the picket line in solidarity with workers striking in her district, including graduate students at Harvard University and hotel workers at the Battery Wharf Hotel.

Congresswoman Pressley’s full remarks are below as delivered and can be viewed here.

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 band 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’ve 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 and Shop workers who walked out and fought back for better health care for workers and their families. 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, quote- unquote “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. 

I thank Representative Bobby Scott for his leadership on this bill to honor and affirm a union’s right to their collective voice and I thank my colleague, my brother from Michigan for organizing this effort. I look forward to supporting this bill and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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