Tuesday night’s House vote allowed its staffers to form unions. This was a huge win for congressional staffers who have been organising for over a decade to control what they consider to be abusive working conditions.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D.Maryland), introduced the resolution. It was passed along with a slate of other measuresA party line vote of 217 votes to 202 was achieved. Since the resolution doesn’t need the approval of the Senate to go into effect, House staffers will now be allowed to filePetition to form unions office-by-office
The Congressional Workers Union celebrated the win as “a historic moment.” “Tonight is a reminder of the power of collective action and what the freedom to form a union truly means – democracy not just in our elections, but in our workplaces too,” the union said in a statement. “To our fellow congressional workers: today belongs to us. Tomorrow, we continue the fight – solidarity forever and onwards!”
Representatives who wish to unionize can now follow a similar process as that for workers across the country. There are legal protections against retaliation. they didn’t have before. A petition for a union elections can be filed by three-quarters of office staff. with the Office of Congressional Workplace RightsIn order to vote.
The union will allow the workers to negotiate provisions like promotions and working conditions – but workers are limited by congressional rules in their ability to negotiate things like health care and retirement benefits. Staffers, especially those who are nonwhiteThey claim that Congress has made them work long hours and have abusive bosses. There is no accountability for their actions, and they have little or no recourse.
Importantly, workers will also have the ability to negotiate wages, which staffers hope will help to combat “brain drain” from Congress and open the door for people From poor and non-white backgroundsto be eligible to work in Congress. There are still limits on wage raises, however, as members of congress get a certain allowance for their office each year – an allowance that members I’ve heard it all beforeIt is not enough to pay better wages to their workers.
Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.California), announced that the House would for the first time establish a minimum pay rateFor congressional staffers. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living-wage calculator, the new minimum annual wage of $45,000 will likely provide a raise for many workers, but it’s not enough to provide a living income for one adult without children living in Washington, D.C.
Levin made a speech to the House floor prior to the vote. He stressed that the passage of his resolution would allow congressional employees to access the same labor protections as other workers throughout the country. “The power of workers to unite and demand fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions was central to the creation of the American middle class, and it’s central right now for working families simply trying to get by,” Levin saidin a speech to the House floor prior to the vote.
“For months now, our workers have been organizing in the shadows because they lack the legal protections to come forward,” he continued. “The least we can do is honor and respect their effort to organize in Congress, giving them the long overdue right to find their collective voice.”
While Republicans didn’t speak against the measure on the House floor, not a single GOP member voted to pass it. Daniel Schuman is the policy director at Demand Progress. arguesThe Republicans are still waging antiworker campaigns. However, they have delegitimized government work in part for low staffer salaries. New York Times reports.