The Stand

Court’s latest anti-union ruling shows why we need PRO Act

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2021) — In the case of Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a California regulation allowing union organizers to recruit agricultural workers at their workplaces violated the constitutional rights of their employers. The vote was 6-3, along the justices’ conservative-liberal ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts declaring that the regulation “grants labor organizations a right to invade the growers’ property,” which was a “per se” taking of private property without just compensation.

In response, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released this statement on Wednesday:

“We are deeply disappointed that the court reversed a decades-old rule that allowed farm workers to exercise their fundamental right to organize at the location where they work as an unconstitutional ‘taking’ of their employers’ property. As the state of California recognized more than 45 years ago, meeting with the union during off-hours at their workplace is the only practical way for workers to organize when they must regularly move from farm to farm throughout the growing season. The AFL-CIO will do everything in our power to help California farm workers find other pathways to exercise their right to form a union to gain a voice at work and ensure safe and healthy working conditions.

“We are pleased that all members of the court did reject the agricultural employers’ most radical arguments, which would have severely undermined crucial health and safety protections as well as long-established access rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

“However, the grudging manner in which the court’s majority accepted important regulatory systems that protect the basic rights of working people and, by extension, the public at large underlines what we repeatedly have said about workers’ right to organize — that in order to ensure all workers have a fair shot in exercising our rights, Congress needs to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.”

Outdated labor laws are no longer strong enough to protect Americans in the workplace. High-profile corporations openly union-bust without facing consequences. Anti-worker lawmakers have passed wage-killing and racist “right-to-work” laws in 27 states. Inequality has skyrocketed as workers have been denied a voice on the job.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would change that. It’s the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression. And it’s also a civil rights and economic stimulus bill. It passed the House on March 9 with bipartisan support, and President Biden has urged Congress to send it to his desk. But the U.S. Senate is the final obstacle, where no Republicans have declared their support of the bill and the body’s arcane filibuster rules requires at least 10 of them to do so.

Both of Washington’s U.S. Senators strongly support the PRO Act. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is the legislation’s lead sponsor in the Senate and U.S. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is a co-sponsor.

Among Washington’s delegation, Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith and Marilyn Strickland — all co-sponsors of the bill — voted “yes” on the PRO Act. Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted “no.”

Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=99553

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