As U.S. senators held a hearing Thursday on American workers\u0026#039; organizing rights, dozens of progressive organizations announced a new coalition to demand that lawmakers pass the PRO Act.\r\n\r\nMotherboard reports that \u0022the grassroots group, the Worker Power Coalition, is made up of 40 of the most powerful progressive organizations in the United States, across a broad spectrum of issues, including racial justice, electoral politics, [and] environmental activism.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe coalition—which includes Communications Workers of America, Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible, MoveOn, Our Revolution, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, and the Working Families Party—\u0022has committed to lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., actions throughout the summer, and a six-figure digital ad buy,\u0022 according to the outlet.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act was reintroduced in February by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with House Committee on Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).\r\n\r\nThe pro-labor bill (H.R. 842/S. 420) passed the Democrat-led House in March but has yet to advance in the evenly divided Senate—bolstering calls for Democrats to kill the filibuster.\r\n\r\nThe PRO Act was a key focus of the hearing that Murray\u0026#039;s committee held Thursday, entitled, \u0022The Right to Organize: Empowering American Workers in a 21st Century Economy.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs Murray\u0026#039;s office outlined earlier this year, the PRO Act aims to empower workers by:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tBolstering remedies and punishing violations of workers\u0026#039; rights through authorizing meaningful penalties for employers that violate workers\u0026#039; rights, strengthening support for workers who suffer retaliation for exercising their rights, and authorizing a private right of action for violation of workers\u0026#039; rights;\r\n\tStrengthening workers\u0026#039; right to join together and negotiate for better working conditions by enhancing workers’ right to support secondary boycotts, ensuring workers can collect \u0022fair share\u0022 fees, modernizing the union election process, and facilitating initial collective bargaining agreements; and\r\n\tRestoring fairness to an economy rigged against workers by closing loopholes that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors and increasing transparency in labor-management relations.\r\n\r\n\r\nDuring Thursday\u0026#039;s hearing, Murray highlighted how unions improve the lives of workers—from wages, time off policies, and benefits to health and safety standards and \u0022knowing you have other workers in your corner to help make sure you are treated with respect and dignity in the workplace.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAmong those who testified (pdf) was Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute. The think tank\u0026#039;s senior economist and director of policy discussed both \u0022the importance of unions to working people, to racial equity, and to reducing economic inequality\u0022 as well as \u0022how the decline in unionization in recent decades is the direct result of relentless attacks on unions.\u0022\r\n\r\nShierholz concluded with a call for the Senate to pass the PRO Act, which \u0022addresses many of the major shortcomings with our current law.\u0022 Doing so, she said, \u0022would help restore workers\u0026#039; ability to organize with their co-workers and negotiate for better pay, benefits, and fairness on the job, and it would reduce racial disparities and help halt and reverse skyrocketing inequality.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022The large gap between the share of workers who want a union and the share of workers who are in a union underscores that our system of labor laws is not working,\u0022 she emphasized. \u0022Fundamental reform is required to rebuild an economy that guarantees all workers the right to come together and have a voice in their workplace and no longer leaves most workers behind.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Meaningful policy changes like the PRO Act,\u0022 Shierholz said, \u0022are crucial for restoring a fair balance of power between workers and employers.\u0022\r\n\r\nMembers of the new coalition shared similar messages on Thursday.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022We need unions because they spark an understanding within the larger zeitgeist of America that when we come together, we are powerful and can pool influence to decide who gets elected and influence their decisions,\u0022 MoveOn executive director Rahna Epting told Motherboard.\r\n\r\nNelini Stamp, director of strategy and partnerships for the Working Families Party, said that \u0022we want to build a multi-racial working class democracy but that\u0026#039;s really, really hard.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We can\u0026#039;t reach it without people who have rights in their workplace,\u0022 Stamp said.