In landslide wins two more congressional offices voted to unify, making them the Second and thirdThe Congressional Workers Union (CWU), announced Friday that the Congressional offices will ever form a union.
Representatives Ro Khanna, D-California, and Ilhanomar, D-Minnesota voted last Wednesday to join CWU. They voted with a 9:1 vote and 21:0 vote, respectively. The union has won all of its elections so far, with several more in the pipeline; last week, the union announced that staffers in Rep. Andy Levin’s (D-Michigan) office had voted unanimously to form congressional staffers’ first-ever union.
“We are witnessing a moment right now on Capitol Hill and in the labor movement that will go down in history,” the union wrote in a statement. “Dozens of workers are making meaningful change in the congressional workplace by speaking up and demanding that our nation’s lawmakers provide them a democratic workplace with a seat at the table.”
The movement appears to be expanding. The offices of Representatives Dina Titus (D-Nevada) and Sean Casten (D-Illinois) filed union petitions recently, joining the offices of Representatives Cori Bush (Missouri), Chuy García (Illinois), Ted Lieu (California), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Melanie Stansbury (New Mexico) in petitioning to unionize.
With the new filings, the total number of offices who have filed to unionize has now reached 10. Union organizers sayOther staff members expressed interest in joining the union. Workers SayCongress needs a union to raise wages, close racial gaps and improve working conditions. This is something staffers believe can be difficult and exhausting.
Khanna and Omar have celebrated their offices’ victories.
“Unions are the bedrock of the middle class. The labor movement helped get us the 40 hour work week, the weekend, and child labor laws,” Omar said in a statement. “It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff. All the members of my team who played a leadership role in the staff unionization effort are a credit to me. Solidarity forever.”
Workers in Omar’s office, including CWU President Phillip Bennett, said in an interview with Teen Vogue that they hope the union — formed in an office led by a pro-union boss — can help pave a path for other staffers in non-progressive offices to unionize.
Staffers for other representatives “can go back to their offices and say, ‘Look, it’s not just the Squad, right? We have other members that are part of this as well,’” said union member and Omar staffer Jacklyn Rogers. “We’re just helping pave the way.”
It is not uncommon for Capitol Hill staffers to work in such miserable conditions. Workers have had the to take second jobsResearch is necessary to survive. About one in eight D.C.-based staffers didn’t make a living wage in 2020. This has caused a “brain drain” from Congress. Workers with high political experience are often poached by private sector employers who often pay higher wages. Many staff report being harassed by homophobic and racist people in the halls.
House staffers were given the opportunity to form a union in January, when The House passedA resolution Sponsored byLevin was the one who activated congressional union provisions in decades old legislation.