By Landis Larson | West Fargo, N.D.

Research shows that nearly 60 million workers would join a labor union if given the opportunity. So why haven’t they?

For years, policymakers, lobbyists and CEOs have stopped at nothing to keep worker power at bay. They weakened the National Labor Relations Act. They attacked collective bargaining rights.

Under current law, the penalties against employers who illegally fire or retaliate against workers who are trying to form a union are a drop in the bucket. As a result, employers routinely retaliate against pro-union workers, because they know it will undermine the organizing campaign and they will face no real consequences. To them, it’s simply the cost of doing business.

For the first time in modern history, however, we have the chance to turn this around. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would hold employers accountable and institute civil penalties for violations of the law, including back pay and damages.

The PRO Act would put the decision of whether or not to form a union back where it belongs—in the hands of workers, free from employer interference.

We urge Senator Hoeven, Senator Cramer and Representative Armstrong to pass the PRO Act and support our freedom to join together in unions and build a better life.

Larson is president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO.

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