A new rule that went into effect on July 18 allowed staff at congressional offices to seek union representation. The day the rule went into effect, Staffers at eight house offices filed for representation. are employed by Democratic Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois, Andy Levin of Michigan, Ro Khanna of California, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ted Lieu of California and Cori Bush of Missouri, according to the Congressional Workers Union.
“We’re thrilled to finally be able to, I wouldn’t say complete the process, but move to the next step,” said one of the organizers, who requested anonymity to speak candidly as they navigate the newly implemented rules. “[This] is really going to be a test of whether our bosses are willing to walk the walk when it comes to workers’ rights.”
A majority of the workforce in the office, excluding managers, supervisors and confidential employees, must vote in favor of unionization in order to gain representation.
A House resolution in May allowed for the staffers to seek union representation, but the Congressional Accountability Act, passed in 1995, started the process. That Act disallowed the exemption of the legislative branch from federal statutes, including labor laws. The May resolution approved regulations related to the Act that allowed for unionization to proceed.
Senate staff and those who work in joint House-Senate offices are not covered by the new rules and will have to wait until the Senate takes its own action.
There are over 9,000 Congressional staffers who could potentially be unionized.