Andy Levin, a Michigan congressman, is proposing Wednesday a resolution that would allow House staffers to form unions or engage in collective bargaining.
The Democratic lawmaker Levin stated that the bill basically does what Congress did for everyone else working for us, except for our personal staff and committee staff. It’s a huge deal.
The resolution asks for approval of “certain regulations to implement provisions under the Congressional Accountability Act”. The 1995 legislation extended labor protections for legislative branch employees and entities such as the U.S. Capitol Police and Library of Congress, but it did not fully cover Senate and House staff.
Levin stated, “This resolution simply states what we did back then. Now we apply to the staff in our personal offices as well as in our district offices. It’s about time.
Capitol Hill saw a surge in unionization last week, after an Instagram account called “Dear White staffers” became viral. It featured grievances from anonymous staffers regarding low pay, diversity, and hostile work environments.
Issue One, a cross-partisan reform group found that one in eight congressional staffers isn’t being paid a living wage. Staff assistants earn a median annual salary $38,730. The Congressional Progressive Staff Association also found that 39% of respondents had taken out a loan in order to make ends met.
While Republican leaders claim they are against staffers unionizing, a growing number Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have supported the move. According to the White House, President Biden is also involved.
Jen Psaki, Press Secretary, stated that he supports any individual’s right to join a union and to collectively bargain. “Capitol Hill staffers are certain individuals who are pursuing this.”
It is not clear when Levin’s resolution will be considered by the full House. He said that if the resolution is approved, it would be up for staff to decide how to organize.
Levin stated, “I believe this is part of a larger movement in society.” “You saw industry after industry form unions. Amazon, now we have Starbucks… and Capitol Hill isn’t exempt.”