Workers in Rep. Andy Levin’s (D-Michigan) office have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of Congress’s first-ever union contract, marking a major milestone for the congressional workers’ union that was announced just earlier this year.
According to the Congressional Workers Union (CWA), the contract would give workers roughly $10,000 raises, increasing the average salary in the office by junior staffers to $76,000.
“For the first time in the history of the U.S. Congress, congressional staffers sat at the bargaining and demanded higher pay from management,” the union wrote in a statement. “Workers walked into negotiations with equity top of mind, and walked away with a $10,000 raise and a meaningful end-of-the-year bonus.”
The contract shows “the power of organizing and how life-changing joining a union can be,” the union said. “When workers and employers come together to negotiate in good faith, the result is a contract and a workplace that better serves everyone.”
Levin’s office voted unanimously to unionize in September, becoming the first office in Congress to ever form a union. Since then, The offices of Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Melanie Stansbury (D-New Mexico)Also, a majority voted for unionization.
Six other offices, including the ones of Representatives Cori Bus (D-Missouri), Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D—New York), filed to unionize and await their elections.
The pay bump for Levin’s workers will only last a couple of months, as Levin lost his primary after pro-Israel groupsHe was defeated by millions of dollars. Levin is a strong advocate of the union effort. was hand pickedby union organizers to present the legislation allowing congressional employees to unionize earlier in this year.
“I think if we truly value having an effective workplace and an efficient workplace and a workplace that matches the amazing diversity of our country — racial, ethnic and also socioeconomic diversity — we need to give our workers the chance to organize and bargain,” Levin told Roll Call.
“I really believe that we have launched a new era of labor relations and working conditions in Congress, where workers will have much more say in how things go,” Levin said.
Low pay is a motivator for Congressional workers to join the union. Congress members often work long hours in difficult conditions and face difficult working conditions. They earn far less than comparable workers in the private sector. Non-white workers are particularly affected by these conditions. Who make?They make an average of thousands less than their white counterparts at Capitol Hill, and many report being subject to racist abuse at work.
Detractors of the union effort had claimed that congressional workers aren’t allowed to negotiate their salaries. Union advocates now have an example to prove their opponents wrong.
Demand Progress, a government advocacy organization, said that the new contract will be a step towards stemming the so called brain drain of skilled congressional staffers quitting their jobs to work in high-paying lobbying or consulting jobs.
“For decades, Hill staff have struggled to make ends meet with a median annual salary of $50,000 while their federal agency counterparts make roughly 20 percent more on average,” said Demand Progress Policy Advisor Taylor J. Swift released a statement. Demand Progress, on the other hand, highlighted that the starting pay for Capitol Police officers is $45,000 appears to start atMore than $73,000
“Today’s action will also go a long way toward slowing the revolving door and restoring the First Branch’s ability to recruit and retain staff who are committed to working in Congress for the long haul,” Swift said.