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National AFL-CIO: Supporting The PRO Act ‘Is A Litmus Test For Politicians Wanting Organized Labor’s Backing’

Published Wednesday, June 22, 2022
by Press Associates Union News Service
National AFL-CIO: Supporting The PRO Act ‘Is A Litmus Test For Politicians Wanting Organized Labor’s Backing’

(PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA) - It was buried at the bottom of a long resolution detailing the need to rewrite and strengthen U.S. Labor Laws, making them Pro-Worker again, but the National AFL-CIO has reiterated that candidates’ support for the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act shall be a litmus test - though it didn’t use those words - for Labor’s election endorsements.

The decision is no surprise.

The late National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it part of a Labor Law Platform Plank in a major speech several years ago, and used the words too.

This language, at the end of Resolution 7, read: “The time is now for fixing America’s broken labor laws,” was blunt: “We reaffirm our commitment, which we first made at the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, that no candidate or elected official who fails to endorse and fight for these fundamental reforms should receive the support of Working People,” it says.

In practical terms, that means Unions won’t devote money or people to electing such Labor foes this Fall, regardless of their record on other issues.

What it’s silent about is whether Unions will actively campaign for those politicians’ foes or sit out the elections involved.

In some cases that may be the only choice - such as where a pro-corporate Democrat is the party nominee for a U.S. House seat, but faces a Trumpite Republican committed to overthrowing Constitutional Government.

But at least in one U.S. House race recently, Labor showed its might against a fair-weather friend.

U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (Democrat-Oregon) voted against the PRO Act in 2019, though the Democratic-run House approved it.

The State AFL-CIO uninvited him from its events the next year.

After demonstrations at his office in 2021, he flip-flopped.

But Unions didn’t - and don’t - trust him.

Instead, big Oregon Unions threw their support to his opponent in May’s Democratic Primary, former American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Member Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Her Union backers included the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), and the Oregon Education Association (OEA).

The state’s Working Families Party backed her too.

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