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Higgins Announces Approval of Legislation Protecting Worker Rights

Mar 9, 2021
Press Release
PRO Act Begins to Address Income Inequality in America

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives approved H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) of 2021, legislation strengthening the rights of workers to join together to negotiate fair wages and safe working conditions.

Brian Higgins Speaking on House Floor to Support PRO Act

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“The PRO Act empowers workers and addresses income inequality in America,” said Higgins. “Hard working people are contributing to the growth of major companies and yet many are still struggling to support their families.”

A report released last year by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details the growth of income inequality in recent decades. While income growth increased at similar rates across income levels post-WWII through the early 1970s, in the decades since the income growth gap continues to widen, with the rich getting richer and workers struggling, representing a loss of shared prosperity. 

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In the 1950s and 1960s nearly a third of the American workforce belonged to a collective bargaining unit. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In 2020, 7.2 million employees in the public sector and 7.1 million workers in the private sector belonged to unions,” representing just 10.8 percent of the workforce. Union membership in the private sector decreased by 428,000 in 2020 alone. Median weekly earnings for union members last year were 16 percent higher than workers not in unions ($958 vs. $1,144).

The PRO Act protects the right of workers to organize, holds employers who violate worker rights accountable, and secures free and fair union elections.