PRO Act will strengthen union retiree benefits
July 1, 2021 | View PDF
A strong and growing labor movement is good for workers and for all Americans. The labor movement has been and continues to be the leading force in the fight to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, ensuring a measure of retirement security for all Americans. Our country, our democracy, and our people benefit when workers have a strong voice at work and are able to join together to build a more secure future for their families and their communities.
Union jobs often come with negotiated defined benefit pensions which ensure lifelong retirement income and provide an influx of reliable revenue into local economies. Retirees who choose to remain in their communities invest their retirement income in local businesses, supporting jobs and local governments. Additionally, retirees whose retirement is funded by accrued union retirement benefits and Social Security are not a perceived burden on the economy. They continue to be self-sufficient, contributing members of our communities and, if healthy enough to engage in volunteer activities, to benefit the communities in which they reside.
The PRO Act streamlines the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process so workers can petition to form a union and get a timely vote. It prohibits employer interference of any sort, including delaying the vote or forcing workers to attend mandatory anti-union meetings as a condition of continued employment. Should an employer break the law or interfere with a fair election, the PRO Act mandates that the NLRB require the employer to bargain with the union if the union had the support of a majority of workers prior to the election.
The PRO Act also requires employers to disclose the names and payments they make to outside third-party union-busters hired to campaign against the union. Some courts have sided with employers to prohibit workers from boycotting secondary companies doing business with their employer. Under current conditions, employers can permanently replace workers who strike. The PRO Act repeals the prohibition on secondary boycotts and prohibits employers from permanently replacing strikers with new workers.
The Alaska Alliance for Retired Americans endorses the PRO Act and urges Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to co-sponsor the PRO Act (S420) and work toward its enactment. It’s the right thing to do for Alaska’s working families.
Susan Reilly is the president of the Alaska Alliance for Retired Americans.