WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement upon voting yes on the House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

The PRO Act, which is the most significant upgrade to U.S. labor law in 80 years, is a proposal that strengthens workers’ power to organize and negotiate for fairer paychecks, better benefits, and safer working conditions. The legislation is a direct response to the struggle that many hardworking families are facing with the rising costs of education, child care, housing, and other basic necessities.

“Strong unions are crucial for combatting economic inequality. Today, however, only ten percent of American workers today are union members – the lowest rate on record – and we are seeing rising income inequality. This comes after decades of attacks on workers’ right to organize and recently the Trump Administration’s harmful rules threatening worker rights.

“In response, the PRO Act makes comprehensive and necessary changes to protect and strengthen workers’ rights to organize. The bill will introduce enforceable penalties for companies and executives that violate workers’ rights, holding them accountable for working conditions.

“The PRO Act protects and expands workers’ power to stand together and negotiate for better pay and benefits and safer working conditions, and closes loopholes that corporations use to undermine the right to organize. The economy is working for corporations and the wealthy while wage growth for the average worker has remained largely stagnant. This legislation will reestablish the conditions necessary for restoring fairness to the economy.”