Congressional staffers working in eight House offices have filed petitions to form Congress’s first-ever unions after being granted the right to do so In the spring.
In May, House representatives voted 217 to 200 to allow their staff to unionize. Rep. Andy Levin, a Democratic Representative from Michigan, introduced the resolution. It activated decades-old legislation that allowed workers and required a separate vote supporting the practice. The legislation was published on the Congressional RecordThe probationary period was for 60 days. The Congressional Workers Union stated that it ended Monday and workers are now free to organize office-by-office.
“July 18 will go down as a historic day for congressional staff and our democracy — marking the day our protected rights to organize and bargain collectively go into full effect,” the union wrote in a statement. “After several months of organizing to establish these protections for House staff, we join 85 congressional workers in taking the next step in our organizing drive by filing for a union election in 8 offices in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Democrats hold all eight of these offices that are petitioning for unionization. The offices that are unionizing are those of Representatives Cori Bush (Missouri), Chuy García (Illinois), Ro Khanna (California), Levin, Ted Lieu (California), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Melanie Stansbury (New Mexico). These offices will need to be hold electionsDecide whether to unify.
“From Amazon and Starbucks to the halls of Congress to state legislatures across our country, every worker deserves the protected right of freedom of association, joining together with their colleagues in solidarity to organize and bargain collectively for a better workplace,” the union said on Monday. “We look forward to voting enthusiastically UNION YES in the coming weeks and sitting down at the bargaining table with our bosses.”
Bush and other lawmakers García, Khanna, Levin, LieuAnd OmarThe filings were celebrated by, “I am so proud of the staffers who made a historic move today,” Levin said in a statement. “It is the workers who ensure that this institution — the bedrock of our fragile and precious democracy — operates efficiently and serves the American people here in the Capitol and in every corner of our nation.”
“My staff and staffers from seven other House offices made history today as they became the first Congressional offices ever to seek union recognition,” Bush said on Twitter. “Workers are stronger together, and I’m proud to stand in solidarity as they strive in making Congress a better workplace.”
Although there are are Senate workers involved in the unionThe Senate has not passed the appropriate resolution for its chamber. This means that Senate staffers are currently prohibited from joining unions. Staffers have been anonymous in fear of reprisal. which congressional workers in the Senate don’t have protection against, since the chamber hasn’t passed the resolution.
It’s likely that the legislation wouldn’t have the votes to pass in the Senate, with Republicans likely uniformly opposed and conservative Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) having He voiced his oppositionShortly after the union drive was announced, it was implemented in February.
Workers announced their campaign when they For over a decade, we had been trying to organize unionization. They That is what you should sayWhile each congressional office is unique, many congressional workers are faced with common issues such as low pay, long hours, and other exploitative conditions. They submitted an article in May before the resolution was adopted. op-ed that their jobs are filled with “cruel ironies”; while they advocate for higher pay, inclusive policies and recourse for sexual harassment for the public, many of them survive on food stamps and face abuse in the halls of Congress.
Poor working conditions affect not only the workers, but the entire country. These staffers are responsible for writing legislation and researching bills that will be put to a vote. Workers say that there is a constant cycle of “brain drain” in Congress, as workers often move to lucrative jobs in the private sector that pay far more for their level of expertise.
This phenomenon has been acknowledged by lawmakers. Stansbury said Bloomberg Law This was earlier in the year that she has heard senior staffers and fellow lawmakers imply that staffers are “expendable,” or “a dime a dozen.”