Feb 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Congressional staffer unionization effort gains traction

The Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congressional staffers formally announced on Friday the start of their "efforts to unionize the offices and committees of the United States Congress."

Driving the news: Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have indicated they support the staffers' unionization efforts in recent days.

The big picture: A survey of congressional staff by the Congressional Progressive Staff Association released last month found that 47% of the respondents "find themselves struggling to pay bills or make ends meet."

  • More than a third of respondents said they have a second job in order to supplement their income, and nearly 40% said they "have taken out debt to make ends meet."

What they're saying: "While not all offices and committees face the same working conditions, we strongly believe that to better serve our constituents will require meaningful changes to improve retention, equity, diversity, and inclusion on Capitol Hill," the Congressional Workers Union said.

  • On Friday, a spokesperson for Schumer said the Senate leader "believes that hard-working Senate staff have the right to organize their workplace and if they chose to do so, he would support that effort."

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) also said that the House will take legislative action next week to support congressional staffers' effort to form a union.

  • Levin said that the staff's decision to form a union is "a fundamental right of all workers."
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