Pelosi raises House staffers' minimum salary to $45,000, and says the chamber will vote next week on allowing a union
Nancy Pelosiis raising the minimum payfor House staff to $45,000.
- The House will also vote next week on a bill to let its staffers unionize.
The House of Representatives will take a historic vote on a resolution that, if passed, would allow its staffers to unionize, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday, after months of advocacy from Hill employees seeking to improve their working conditions.
"When the House passes this resolution, we will pave the way for staffers to join in union, if they so choose," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her caucus. "Congressional staffers deserve the same fundamental rights and protections as workers all across the country, including the right to bargain collectively. "
Pelosi also said that she would raise the minimum
"The House of Representatives is strengthened by the many contributions of brilliant, dedicated and hard-working staff, who every day enable us best serve the American people," Pelosi said.
The upcoming vote is the culmination of internal advocacy, primarily from Democratic staffers, and years of encouragement from government and watchdog groups that seek to reform
Should the resolution pass, it would give a green light for staff in each individual office or committee to begin their own process towards unionization. The resolution would allow members of Congress to recognize the
Insider has spoken to current and former Hill staffers who said they earned as little as $27,000.
Some have told Insider they worked middle-of-the-night retail shifts, drove Ubers, delivered takeout, or applied for income assisted housing, in order to stretch their meager salaries.
Still others recounted experiencing sexual harassment, abusive behavior from lawmakers or senior staff. But they have limited recourse for their complaints and generally distrust the resources offered by Congress, which are designed to protect lawmakers, not their staffers.
"Today is a proud moment in congressional history and portends a significant advance in the working conditions for congressional staff," said Daniel Schuman, policy director of Demand Progress, a group that has pushed for congressional workplace reforms.
In February, the quietly-formed Congressional Workers Union burst into the public eye with demands that the House allow its staff to unionize. They enlisted the help of Rep. Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat, who introduced the necessary resolution in the House.
"Next week, the credibility of lawmakers will be put to the test. Will our bosses finally lead by example?" the Congressional Workers Union said in a statement on Friday.
Levin told Insider on Friday that with the current status quo, House staffers would have no legal protections against retaliation should they decide to unionize their office. Without a resolution, "They could be fired, blacklisted, demoted, anything. That's just wrong," he said.
"All credit to the workers," Levin said. "They have kept up a steady drumbeat of demanding that their voices be heard, and their right to be respected."
Congress had passed legislation a quarter century ago that allowed its staff to form unions, but required a resolution to activate the process that had not been introduced until this year.
If passed, the legislation could pave the way for the army of thousands of workers who support members of Congress to form unions within their own offices and committees, an uncharted process that could hand employees dramatically more power over their working conditions. But because each office and committee would have to unionize and bargain individually, it could create a patchwork system where only some offices complete the process.
So far, there is no word on whether the Senate will go through its own process to allow its staff to form unions.
The timing of Pelosi's announcement is significant. Democrats face the prospect of losing control of the House of Representatives in November, as voters furious about inflation and pandemic-related disruptions head to the polls. Should Republicans reclaim the House, it's unlikely they would put forward a resolution that allowed staff to unionize.
- Ban on single-use plastic kicks in across India as the country recognises the choking impacts of plastic waste on the environment
- Bank FDs will draw down from mutual funds if interest rates go up to 7.5-8%, says report
- Best smartphones under ₹40,000 in India
- Are we worse off than we were in 2008? Foreign investors seem to think so
- MSMEs run on promoter’s savings and need insurance as much as other businesses