Staffer Unionization Gains Momentum on Capitol Hill

Mar 2, 2022
12:21 PM

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, who tells Latino Rebels she supports unionization efforts by Congressional staffers (AP Photo/José Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Efforts by Congressional staffers to unionize their offices continue to pick up steam on Capitol Hill.

Less than a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) told Latino Rebels that they support staffers looking to unionize their workplaces, a resolution has been introduced by Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) to formalize worker rights, and now a hearing is planned for Wednesday afternoon before the House Administration Committee to evaluate the resolution.

“It’s amazing!” said Levin. “Can you think of another case where a hearing happens two legislative days after a resolution was introduced? We are moving full speed ahead.”

Several House members tell Latino Rebels that they are already in talks with their staffers about unionizing their offices.

“They’re excited,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of her staffers. “My office is already trying to figure out what they want to negotiate for and how they’re going to design their own union.”

“I’ve been very open with my staff that the moment that they want to sign cards, I’d be happy to voluntarily recognize them,” says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). “I think for them they’re concerned about the ability to build staff power Capitol Hill-wide. Of course, we can recognize and proceed with the unionization just solely as an office, but for them to be able to use the benefits that we already have and could potentially grow into, from our salary floor to our paid leave, to be able to fight for that collectively for other offices as well is something that they’re also looking at.”

Omar says that the new energy young people are bringing to the unionizing effort is heartening.

“When I joined a union, we were joining an old institution that was already unionized,” says Omar. “But now a lot of young people are leading the path forward of what’s to come.”

Latino Rebels asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday afternoon if she has had any conversations with her staff about forming a union in her office.

“That’s up to them,” said Pelosi. “It’s up to them. They know my view on the subject, so it’s up to them. It’s not a conversation we have had.”

Last month, Latino Rebels asked senators if they were having conversations with respective teams about unionizing their office or committee staffers. So far only four Democratic senators —Bob Menendez (NJ), Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), and Jon Hickenlooper (CO)— have confirmed that they have had such conversations.


Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports