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The House of Representatives passed a bill that grants congressional workers the right to organize and collectively bargain Tuesday evening, much to the applause of the chamber’s Democratic members.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swiftly praised the bill’s “historic” passage, after it cleared the chamber by a vote of 217-202.
“Today, the House took historic action paving the way for Congressional staffers to choose to join together in a union,” she said in a statement. “By empowering staffers to advocate for themselves and each other, we take an important step to ensure the House is best able to serve the American people.”
US President Joe Biden walks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he departs the US Capitol after a caucus meeting in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Pelosi said the unionization bill comes amid a sweeping effort by the Democratic-controlled Congress to help congressional staff.
“The Congress has long been strengthened by the skill, dedication and patriotism of our hard-working staffers, who enable us to fulfill our legislative and constituent responsibilities,” she said. “The Democratic House is committed to honoring their service, while ensuring the Congress is well-positioned to compete for outstanding and diverse staff. Last week, I was proud to announce that the House will set its first-ever pay floor, establishing a minimum annual salary of $45,000.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
“These new steps build on the actions that I have been proud to take as Speaker to strengthen and diversify our Capitol Hill workforce, including establishing the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion to help open the doors to public service for underrepresented communities,” Pelosi continued.
Democratic Rep. Andy Levin, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Labor Caucus who authored the resolution, also celebrated its passage.
Congressman Andy Levin(D-MI) speaks during a press conference today on February 09, 2022 at HVC/Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA. ( Lenin Nolly/Sipa USA)/Reuters)
“After 26 years, the House has finally provided its workers the fundamental human right to form a union without fear of retaliation,” Levin said. “As someone who has spent decades in the labor movement and devoted their life to protecting and enhancing workers’ rights, this moment stands out as a major highlight.”
“Congressional staff are joining a broader movement of workers in our society who are organizing, bargaining collectively and stepping up to make clear that they want more of a voice in their workplaces,” he added.
Today, the Congressional Workers Union announces staff efforts to unionize the offices and committees of the United States Congress. Read our full statement here. pic.twitter.com/pnl7rMhpjB
— Congressional Workers Union (@Congress_Union) February 4, 2022
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden supports the resolution.