As the COVID vaccine programs continue to roll out across the country, many Americans feel a sense that things are finally getting back to normal. Some, however, don’t want to return to the same old normal as before, but want a new normal in which the wealth gap begins to close, workers are no longer exploited for their labor, and the 1% no longer controls the government.
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) March 10, 2021
One of the ways to do that under the presidency of Joe Biden, Democrats have determined, is to push for strengthening unions, guaranteeing workers the right to organize and collectively bargain. Some of the hopes that this new direction will move forward were realized on Tuesday as the House passed the Protect the Right to Organize bill by a vote of 225-206.
According to NBC News:
‘The House voted 225-206 Tuesday to pass the Protect the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, the most pro-worker labor reform in decades, according to the bill’s sponsors. It faces an uphill battle in the 50/50 split Senate; President Joe Biden has said labor reform is one of his administration’s top priorities.’
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) yells at the GOP over union organizing bill: “Heaven forbid we pass something that’s going to help the damn workers in the United States of America.”
He adds: “Now stop talking about Dr. Seuss, and work with us …” pic.twitter.com/0RbmxQUPxB
— The Recount (@therecount) March 9, 2021
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) noted that the opposition to the bill came entirely from the right, with only five voting to pass the bill along with all Democrats. In recent days, the GOP has opposed all attempts to help workers recover following the economic decline caused by COVID, including funding for a COVID relief bill. What they’ve done to distract from that lack of support has been to focus on a year-old announcement made by the estate of Dr. Seuss, who decided to pull six of his little-known works from publication because of illustrations that depict Asian and Black characters as racist stereotypes. The GOP desperately wants to preserve racial stereotyping, but not so much the American worker.
Ryan yelled this on the floor of the House on Tuesday, saying:
‘Heaven forbid we pass something that’s going to help the damn workers in the United States of America! Heaven forbid we tilt the balance that has been going in the wrong direction for 50 years! Now, stop talking about Dr. Seuss, and start working with us on behalf of the American workers!’
It’s my honor to be presiding over the House of Representatives as we consider the #PROAct.
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) March 9, 2021
The bill now faces opposition from the GOP in the Senate, who are sure to fearmonger and convince their voters that denying them the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions is to their best benefit. In truth the bill is desperately needed as the country recovers from COVID, but only Democrats seem to recognize this.
‘The PRO Act would strengthen workers’ rights to strike for better wages and working conditions, strengthen safeguards to ensure that workers can hold fair union elections and allow the National Labor Relations Board to fine bosses who violate workers’ rights.’
The right to organize is at the heart of our country – and the House protected that right by passing the #PROAct today. Proud to cosponsor this vital legislation that protects unions and workers. https://t.co/uuCtFGosiC
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) March 10, 2021
Featured image screenshot via Twitter video