A group of congressional staffers in the U.S. House and Senate called the Congressional Workers Union (CWU) announced in a statement on Friday that they are seeking to “unionize the personal offices and committees” in both chambers.
“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 statement read. “We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table.”
The CWU cited a study by the Congressional Progressive Staff Association, which reported that out of 516 congressional staffer respondents, 47% said they struggled to pay bills, 68% are unhappy with their compensation, and 85% believe Congress is a toxic work environment.
The effort to unionize, pushed primarily by Democratic staffers, has received support from several elected officials in the party, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Politico reported on Thursday.
Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., said on Twitter shortly after the announcement that the House will take legislative action next week to support union efforts by congressional staffers, adding they have “a fundamental right” to do it.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., also indicated support for the union through his Twitter account on Friday.
“As the son of a union member who benefited directly from the stability membership provided, I believe Congressional staff should have a right to organize,” Smith said.
However, some pro-labor conservative organizations criticized the union effort, alleging that the CWU’s priorities are incorrect.
“The ‘Congressional Worker’s Union’ is more concerned with DEI [diverity, equity and inclusion] than addressing wage issues and even cases of staffer reliance on food stamps,” The Bull Moose Project stated on Twitter. “Yet another example of a public sector union ignoring actual issues to insert a fake, ignorant ideology in order to extort taxpayers.”
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