Staffers in eight House offices — all representing Democrats — planned to exercise their newly granted right to organize and file for union recognition Monday.
Aides to Reps. Andy Levin of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ro Khanna of California, Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ted Lieu of California, Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico and Chuy Garcia of Illinois were slated to become the first in a wave of union-seeking staffers.
According to Politico, the offices of the above representatives elicited the full participation of eligible staff, meaning that about 50 to 60 total employees are looking to be blanketed by union protection.
As part of this process, House staffers would garner explicit protections from retaliation or firing if they chose to organize a union.
According to a recent report from ABC News, a survey distributed by the Congressional Progressive Staff Association found that 91% of the 516 staff respondents wanted more protections and a stronger voice at work.
Levin, who sponsored the House resolution to activate the staffers’ rights, did not detail the full protections in an interview with Politico.
However, Levin said: “I’m not going to steal the thunder of the workers because this is their story, not mine. … I do believe we’ll see a bunch of workers organizing and asking for recognition and following that process.”
Levin added, “Whenever they do that, I’ll be standing behind them, cheering.”
In May, the House voted to allow roughly 10,000 of its employees to bargain collectively and form unions, with the rights considerations going into effect after 90 days.
The measure expanded rights already given to other workers in the legislative branch, including Capitol Police, the Library of Congress, and professional tour guides.
According to Politico, the Congressional Workers Union has been in touch with more than 100 House offices about potentially unionizing.
“Organizing is hard enough, but … organizing in a highly politicized workplace is very difficult. And so this resolution for House staff definitely does give us a great deal of cover and a huge sense of relief,” a union representative told Politico.
The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights will reportedly vet all those filing for union recognition, in terms of discerning eligibility for the new rights program.
According to Glassdoor.com, a job-posting site, the estimated total pay for a congressional staffer is $78,039 per year, with an average base salary of $58,196 per year.
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