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US unions plan national day of action for Right to Organise law

TRADE unions in the United States have called a national day of action this week to push senators to pass the Protect the Right to Organise (Pro) Act.

Union confederation the AFL-CIO named Thursday as the day when activities in support of the Act will be held nationwide.

The legislation, which has been passed by the House of Representatives, would expand the definition of employees to extend workplace rights to more workers, legalise solidarity industrial action and ban employers from resorting to litigation against unions involved in secondary strikes. 

It would also bar employers from forcing staff to take part in activities designed to undermine trade unions, such as the compulsory anti-union propaganda sessions held by Amazon at its plant in Bessemer, Alabama, where results of a  vote on union recognition are expected this week.

President Joe Biden has enthusiastically endorsed the legislation, arguing that “rebuilding unions” is key to ensuring that people “enjoy America’s promise in full.

“Unions give workers a stronger voice to increase wages, improve the quality of jobs and protect job security, protect against racial and all other forms of discrimination and sexual harassment and protect workers’ health, safety and benefits in the workplace,” he declared when the law was being debated in the House of Representatives.

But its passage in the Senate is uncertain, with the upper house split 50-50 between the Republicans and the Democrats and their allies. Majority leader Chuck Schumer (because the US vice-president casts a deciding vote in a deadlocked Senate, the party controlling the White House is termed the majority in such circumstances) has said that he will not attempt to pass the Pro Act until it has 50 sponsors and co-sponsors. So far, it has 45.

Postal Workers union president Mark Dimondstein called on everyone to “get involved in these fights” to push the remaining five – four Democrats and an independent – to support the law, though specific activities for the day of action have yet to be announced.

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