Democrats in Congress are using their passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the House of Representatives to play the old “good guy, bad guy” routine, casting themselves as the good-guys fighting to support workers’ rights, and casting Republicans in the role of villains keeping workers down.
It’s true that the Republican Party stands solidly against workers’ rights, and Senate Republicans will now prove it by using the filibuster to kill the legislation – making Democrats seem like the good guys. But if we look closely, it’s clear that Democrats are not the party of the workers that they claim to be.
The PRO Act, while it might change the rules about how the government allows workers to organize unions, does so in only small ways. It would strengthen government’s power to punish bosses who punish workers for union organizing and outlaw required anti-union meetings that employers use to scare workers away from supporting unionization. But workers will still have to fight to defend themselves, no matter what the law says.
Where were Democratic politicians like these as union membership and power declined from the 1950s to today? Why didn’t the Democrats pass the Employee Free Choice Act (the precursor to this legislation) under President Obama when they controlled both houses of Congress? And why are they only passing it now when they know that the Senate will kill it? The Democrats don’t really care about workers or their unions. They simply want to win labor support in elections without actually making real changes! Just look at who contributes to the Democratic Party and you’ll see they’re just as pro-boss as the Republicans.
What’s important is that working people recognize that we don’t need politicians to give us our rights or government approval before organizing ourselves.
We can decide when we need collective action. We can organize ourselves to protect our own interests. We have the power to protect ourselves. Let’s start acting like it!