The staff of progressive Rep. Andy Levin (D–Michigan), have unanimously voted for a union. This is the first time in American history that a congressional office has unified.
Workers were fired last week VoteConcerning the question about joining the Congressional Workers Union, (CWU), a group In recent yearsStaffers have complained about the conditions of work in Congress halls. The union celebrated their first win by announcing the result of the vote on Monday.
“It is with great pride we announce the landslide union election victory in Congressman Andy Levin’s office,” the union said in a statement.
“While exercising their right to vote, the workers clearly and emphatically expressed their desire to bargain collectively and have a seat at the table to determine workplace conditions and benefits,” the union continued. “CWU is ecstatic to support these workers as we move to the bargaining table and negotiate a contract representative of workers’ needs for the first time in congressional history.”
The results are in Staff in @RepAndyLevin’s office unanimously voted to form a union, making it the FIRST congressional office union in the history of the U.S. Congress. 🎉🥳
— Congressional Workers Union (@Congress_Union) September 26, 2022
The union will be in existence for only a few more months, just like Levin. defeated byIn August, he was surrounded by deep-pocketed special interests groups.
But, there are more unions than ever before. The union states that next up for voting on unionization will be the offices of Representatives Ro Khanna, D-California, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota. They will vote electronically on Wednesday and Thursday.
At least Five additional offices, including those of Representatives Cori Bush (Missouri), Chuy García (Illinois), Ted Lieu (California), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Melanie Stansbury (New Mexico), have also filed to unionize. Their elections are yet to be announced.
Workers will now be able to bargain with management in order to reach a first contract. Eligible staffers in Levin’s office will now be able to negotiate payWorkers claim that workers often receive far too little in compensation for Washington, D.C., along with provisions like parental leave.
According to a report released earlier this year, about 1 in 8 D.C.-based congressional staffers, or about 1,200 workers, didn’t make a living wage in 2020. Even among staffers who earn a living wage this is still not enough for many. Many of the best workers in Congress are lured away by better paying jobs in the private sector.
Further, workers – especially nonwhite workers – frequently report facing harassmentConcerning their race or sexuality, they feel unsafe. The union stated that the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 highlighted these feelings.
The staff were May granted the right to unite, after LevinHad filed legislation activating a section of the decades-old Congressional Accountability Act that protects staffers from being penalized for unionizing – protections already afforded to most, but not allBecause the Senate has not passed similar legislation, U.S. Senate workers are still unable and unwilling to unite.
Levin celebrated the July filing of the petition by House staffers to unionize.
“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,” he said at the timeSolidarity with the labor organizers. “It is the workers who applied pressure, pushing their bosses to walk the walk and respect the will of staff. It is the workers who bravely stepped up despite potential backlash and interference and made clear that they want more of a voice in our workplace.”