The Congressional Workers Union tweeted, and the office of Michigan Democratic Representative Andy Levin confirmed that the staffers in Levin's office voted unanimously on Monday to form the first union for a congressional office in the history of Capitol Hill. The vote was held on Monday.
"Today, my staff became the very first in the 233-year history of the United States Congress to form a union," Levin told CNN in a statement. "The United States Congress has been in existence for 233 years." "I'm proud of their bravery and initiative, and I'm looking forward to bargaining a just contract with the Congressional Workers Union," you could also say.
According to the Congressional Workers Union website, members of the staff working for seven additional Democratic members of Congress have also submitted petitions to unionize. These members of the staff work for Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Chuy Garcia of Illinois, Ro Khanna of California, Ted Lieu of California, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico.
The president of the AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the country, Liz Shuler, tweeted that congressional staffers have a place to belong in American unions. She extended her best wishes to the office of Senator Levin and added, "Organizers worked tirelessly to make this happen—may this be the first of many more!"
Even though Levin will be leaving Congress in January due to his defeat in the primary election a month ago, there has been a larger push among Democrats for fair wages for staffers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has raised the base pay for House staffers to $45,000 this month. As stated in a report that was made public earlier on in this year, one out of every eight staff members working in congressional offices in Washington, DC, do not make enough money to support themselves.
It is still against the law for staff members of the Senate to join a union, and attempts to pass comparable legislation in the Senate have not made much headway.
This move comes as a result of a bill that was recently passed by the House of Representatives, which Levin was the primary sponsor, to make it possible for workers on Capitol Hill to form their first union.