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House adopts resolution allowing congressional staffers to unionize

The measure, approved in a 217-202 vote, does not require Senate action to take effect.
U.S. Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol on Thursday.Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The House approved a resolution Tuesday allowing congressional workers to unionize amid growing frustration that salaries for staffers are not keeping pace with the high cost of living in the nation’s capital.

The measure was adopted in a 217-202 vote. No Senate action is required.

The Congressional Workers Union praised the vote.

“Tonight is a reminder of the power of collective action and what the freedom to form a union truly means — democracy not just in our elections, but in our workplaces too,” the union said in a statement.

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., ensures workers can organize without fear of retaliation.

Congressional staffers in February said they planned to organize a union for aides serving in lawmakers’ offices and committees on Capitol Hill.

“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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement after the vote. “The Democratic House is committed to honoring their service, while ensuring the Congress is well-positioned to compete for outstanding and diverse staff.”

Pelosi previously responded to the salary concerns of staffers by announcing last week that the House planned to establish a pay floor, effectively guaranteeing a minimum salary of $45,000 for House aides.

Employees at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also announced Tuesday that they had formed the organization’s first union, making it the largest collective bargaining unit in the Democratic Party.