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State of the unions: Unions represent tens of thousands of Quad-Cities workers, though

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Iowa’s Right To Work Laws inhibit workers from organizing and contribute to the rapidly decreasing union membership across the state, union leaders say.

“The legislation truly means, in my opinion, the right to work for less,” Nagel said.

The Right to Work Act primarily prohibits unions from making security agreements in the workforce, so they cannot require all employees at a company to pay union dues. That means less funding for unions and makes it more difficult to negotiate on behalf of workers. 

PRO Act

Newly proposed legislation, titled the PRO Act, could return some power to unions, especially in Right to Work states, union leaders say.

The PRO Act would streamline union elections, restrict employers’ intimidation tactics, fine companies that break labor laws, reverse the impact of the Right to Work act, and enforce other elements that would strengthen union support in the workplace.

“Anything that we can bargain at a table can be taken away with the swipe of a pen, and the ballot box is tied directly to the breadbox, and we’ve known that forever,” McInroy said. “That’s why the PRO Act is important.”

With legislative support, labor leaders see the potential to break the steady decline seen over the last 20 years, according to Nagel.  

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