Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
March 30, 2021 - Download PDF Version
The Hon. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
The Hon. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Re: Peace Groups Urge Support for the PRO Act
Dear Members of the Senate:
As organizations dedicated to promoting progressive foreign policy, we believe that a peaceful future must include fair treatment for the workers whose labor makes safe and thriving societies possible. For that reason, we celebrate the passage of H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and urge the Senate to act quickly to pass this landmark legislation.
At $740 billion per year, spending on the Pentagon is close to its highest levels since World War II – far more than was spent at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s. The past two decades of war since 2001 have had catastrophic results, costing more than 800,000 lives and $6.4 trillion, all while escalating regional instability and making the U.S. itself less safe. Every dollar invested in war is a dollar not invested in infrastructure, health care, education, and job creation in the U.S., at a time when millions of Americans lack steady employment or work for poverty wages.
Meanwhile, wealth inequality has exploded all over the world. In the past year of pandemic and economic crisis alone, the country’s 664 billionaires have amassed $1.3 trillion — at $4 trillion, the total wealth of all U.S. billionaires today is nearly double the $2.1 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans.
The peace movement supports human rights, and labor rights are human rights. The PRO Act would enact long overdue changes to existing labor law, providing strong protections for employees organizing to form a union and for working people who are already members of a union. This would expand basic labor protections to millions of workers who are not currently in a union, penalize corporations that illegally fire or retaliate against workers, expand workers’ collective bargaining rights, close loopholes that corporations use to exploit and intimidate workers, and enhance workers’ right to act in solidarity with one another. It would also strengthen our foreign policy by providing a global model for progressive labor rights.
Ensuring workers have the right to join together in a union is critical in our fight against urgent threats like pandemics and climate change. The current crisis requires major investments across many sectors to prepare for further challenges ahead. This is a chance to create millions of new green jobs, which must be union jobs with full workplace protections and family-sustaining wages. The common sense protections in the PRO Act are essential for ensuring a just recovery for all workers.
Labor unions reduce extreme inequality that can stoke political instability and conflict, and are a critical force for a more peaceful world. The PRO Act would help advance that goal and help us rebuild an economy that provides lasting peace and mutual security for all. We urge the Senate to immediately pass the PRO Act.
American Friends Service Committee
ART NOT WAR
Beyond the Bomb
Center for International Policy
Feminist Foreign Policy Project
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Institute for Policy Studies
Jewish Voice for Peace
Justice Is Global
Massachusetts Peace Action
Peace Education Center
Veterans For Peace
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
Win Without War