Poll finds majority of voters support the PRO Act

AFL-CIO PRESIDENT Richard Trumka at a Congressional press conference on the PRO Act, 2020. – AFL-CIO photo

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act seems unlikely to succeed in the Senate without filibuster reform due to a lack of Republican support — but it has the support of the majority of likely voters, according to a new poll from Vox and Data for Progress (DFP).

A sweeping, transformational Labor rights bill, the PRO Act would rewrite Labor law to give workers a fairer chance against their bosses. It would outlaw phony, Republican-led “right-to-work” laws in all 50 states and make it easier for workers to get a first contract after organizing. It would also penalize companies that restrict union activity and would give independent contractors — such as drivers for Uber and Lyft —the right to organize and collectively bargain.

The bill passed the House in March, with the support of just five Republicans and all but one Democrat. It has the support of President Joe Biden, and is part of his American Jobs Plan. But it faces long odds in the Senate, where all 50 Democrats and 10 Republicans would need to approve of the legislation for it to pass.

Unions, traditional Democratic allies, have lined up in favor of the bill, while business groups — which typically align with Republicans — are opposed.

Among likely voters, however, there is less of a partisan divide. The Vox/DFP poll of 1,187 likely voters –– conducted from June 4 to 6 — found 40 percent of Republicans support the PRO Act, along with 74 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents. Overall, the poll found the bill has the support of 59 percent of likely voters. According to the poll:

  • 27 percent strongly support the PRO Act.
  • 32 percent somewhat support the bill.
  • 59 percent of the likely voters polled would support the bill.
  • Only 29 percent oppose it.

The poll also found strong bipartisan support for public sector unions that represent workers like teachers, fire fighters, and police officers: 82 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Republicans said those who work in public sectors should be able to form and join unions.

Pollsters also asked respondents about their thoughts on Biden’s pro-union statement when he said, “America wasn’t built by Wall Street, it was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class,” adding, “Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a stronger voice, for your health, your safety, higher wages, protection from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. … There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No employer should confront workers about their union preferences.”

The poll found that 65 percent of likely voters — including 60 percent of independents and 42 percent of Republicans, despite the use of Biden’s name in the question — agreed with the president’s quote. Only 28 percent disapproved.

The poll found likely voters also significantly disapprove of the most common union-busting techniques that businesses employ to prevent workers from organizing.

  • 63 percent oppose forcing workers to attend meetings to talk about the risks of unionization without providing workers an opportunity to hear alternative viewpoints.
  • 60 percent oppose having supervisors tell workers that a union will create an adversarial work environment.

The PRO Act would ban captive audience meetings and penalizing managers for coercive anti-union messaging and threats.

In what may come as a surprise to Republican senators, a majority of likely Republican voters disapproved of every company tactic the poll covered.

The full poll, along with questions asked, can be found at https://www.filesforprogress.org/datasets/2021/6/dfp-vox-attitudes-towards-unions-toplines.pdf



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