PRO Act is needed labor law reform

  • Saturday, July 24, 2021 11:23pm
  • Opinion
Point of View

Point of View

Young people across the peninsula need middle-class jobs that provide fair wages, good benefits, safe workplaces and a dignified retirement. The best way to achieve these things is through collective bargaining and unionism.

Research shows that nearly 60 million workers would join a labor union if given the opportunity. So why haven’t they?

For years, policymakers, corporate lobbyists and CEOs in faraway places have stopped at nothing to keep worker power at bay. They weakened the National Labor Relations Act. They attacked collective bargaining rights. And the result has been the declining economic opportunity for young people on the peninsula.

2020 underscored how urgently we need labor law reform.

Under current law, the penalties against employers who illegally fire or retaliate against workers who are trying to form a union are difficult to enforce, and if they are, they’re a mere drop in the bucket. As a result, employers like Amazon who routinely retaliate against pro-union workers, because they know it will undermine the organizing campaign and they will face no real consequences. To them, it’s simply the cost of doing business. To me, it’s anti-American.

For the first time in modern history, however, we have the chance to turn this around. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would hold employers accountable and institute real, enforceable penalties for violations of the law. Representative Don Young supported the PRO Act in the U.S. House earlier this year, and I am asking Senator Lisa Murkowski to vote yes when the bill comes to the floor of the U.S. Senate later this year.

The PRO Act would put the decision of whether or not to form a union back where it belongs — in the hands of workers, free from employer interference. We need to rebuild our middle class. We need to pass the PRO Act.


By Joshua Yeh

Sterling, Alaska


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