With Pelosi And Schumer’s Blessing, Hill Staffers Announce Union Push

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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A group of Capitol Hill staffers announced Friday that they will begin the process to form a union, following declarations of support from top Democrats.

“While not all offices and committees share 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. That starts with having a voice in the workplace. We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table,” the Congressional Workers Union said in a statement.

The announcement comes with the blessing of both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Schumer 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,” a spokesman for the New York Democrat said Friday.

“Our tireless Congressional staff have the right to organize their workplace and join together in a union. If and when staffers choose to exercise that right, they would have Speaker Pelosi’s full support,” a spokesman for Pelosi said Thursday.

Staffers have begun using social media to complain about what they view as unfair labor practices among members of Congress. The “Dear White Staffers” Instagram page catalogs complaints from “Congressional BIPOC shitposters on Capitol Hill.” Several posts allege that staffers are paid unfairly, and that members repeatedly requested that staffers run personal errands. (RELATED: ‘Made Me So Miserable’: 14 Former Staffers Accuse Top Progressive Of Running ‘Harsh’ Workplace Environment)

Although congressional staffers have never before unionized, employees on several prominent Democratic campaigns attempted to form unions during recent election cycles. Campaign staffers for Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign formed a union under United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400. Sanders and the union became embroiled in several labor disputes after staffers alleged that the campaign paid below $15 an hour in violation of a campaign pledge, and that the campaign unlawfully retaliated against staffers for joining the union.

New York mayoral candidate Dianne Morales rejected the unionization demands of her campaign staff. The staffers demanded a minimum pay of $25 an hour, and called on Morales to use campaign funds on “community grocery giveaways” and “Multilingual Politics For All People teach-ins” instead of advertising.