Opinion: We need the PRO Act. Here’s why

The hard-working men and women of Alaska’s building trades need the PRO Act.

  • Monday, August 2, 2021 11:07pm
  • Opinion

By Corey Baxter

The hard-working men and women of Alaska’s building trades need the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

The PRO Act was passed with bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year — including support from Rep. Don Young.

The PRO Act, put simply, would renew the promise made in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 — that workers have “full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.”

The right to freely and fairly organize is a patriotic belief, not a partisan one. Union members vote for both political parties, and we live in red and blue communities. My union, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, has endorsed Republicans, Democrats and independents. Unionism transcends ideology, and it transcends any one issue.

In an era of extreme polarization, Alaskans are overwhelmingly supportive of labor unions. And recent polling showed that 72% of likely Alaskan voters support the PRO Act. Labor unifies Alaska, and it unifies Juneau.

The PRO Act would end the worst practices of employers, like the misclassification of workers to deprive them of basic benefits and protections, like forcing workers to sit through union-bashing sessions, like firing workers who have the courage to speak up about unsafe working conditions.

The PRO Act is a generational opportunity for the thousands of Alaskans who want to join a union but haven’t found the path to get there under current law.

Working people deserve a voice on the job and at the bargaining table. They deserve fair wages and safe working conditions. And that is why I am calling on our U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to support the PRO Act.

Corey Baxter is the District 8 representative for Operating Engineers Local 302.

More in Opinion

Jodi Taylor is the board chair for Alaska Policy Forum. (Courtesy photo)
Private school, state reimbursement: family choice

By Jodi Taylor Alaskan parents have a legitimate right to choose the… Continue reading

Opinion: It’s time for bold action to protect our fisheries

Our fisheries feed the world and sustain our unique cultures and communities.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Hard to fill positions?

Paying poverty wages to support staff, secretaries and custodians is unacceptable yet routine behavior by our district

A copy of the State of Alaska Official Ballot for the June 11, 2022, Special Primary Election is photographed on May 2, 2022. (Peninsula Clarion staff)
Choosing a candidate – Who will best represent us in D.C.?

Voters are encouraged to do homework before casting a vote

Tourists watch as one of two cubs belonging to an 18-year-old sow black bear crosses the path between groups of tourists visiting the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Tourists have pushed us to critical mass in parts of Juneau

I don’t go to the glacier in the summer now to hike or watch bears.

Sens. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, left, and Robert Myers, R-North Pole, read through one of 41 amendments submitted to the state’s omnibus budget bill being debate on the floor of the Alaska State Senate on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: The Alaska Senate’s foolish gamble

“All these conservative people just spent all our money”

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. (logo provided)
Point of View: A few ideas for Mental Health Awareness Month

What are some things you can practice this month and subsequently apply to your life?

Alex Koplin is a founding member of Kenai Peninsula Votes. (courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: 1 candidate dined, 47 to go

By Alex Koplin Last month, I wrote a satirical piece for the… Continue reading

Most Read