Detroit News: Marick Masters on PRO Act

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President Joe Biden has vowed he will be "the strongest labor president you have ever had.” To fulfill that promise, he's thrown his support behind the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The bill cleared the Democratically controlled U.S. House last year but faltered in the Republican-led Senate. Now, Democrats have narrow majorities in both chambers and lawmakers are taking a second crack at passing the PRO Act — and this time, they may have a chance. "It is a very big deal. It's the most significant labor law reform legislative package on the table for decades, and I think the chances of it passing are more favorable than it has been for decades," said Marick Masters, a Wayne State University business professor who studies labor relations. There's been a dramatic decrease in union membership since the 1950s, Masters said, in part due to "defects embedded in the labor law, which is slanted in favor of employers... employers have felt increasingly emboldened over time to use the law to their advantage to make it more difficult to unionize." While Democrats, who are largely in favor of the legislation, control both chambers of Congress and the White House, it will be a challenge to make the bill into law. Proponents of the legislation would need 60 votes in the Senate to stop debate and move to a vote, which would require several Republicans to side with Democrats. They'll also be fighting for airtime amid a proposed COVID-relief package, climate policies and infrastructure priorities that are likely to take precedence. "It has a fighting chance. The odds are probably against it," Masters said. "I think it's going to be very very difficult. A lot depends on how much political capital the Biden administration and the Senate majority have to expend to get this through." 

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