WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday announced a minimum annual wage of $45,000 for House aides and said she's scheduling a vote on a resolution that would allow staffers to unionize.
The moves aim "to strengthen workplace rights for our staff, while improving our ability to retain and recruit the next generation of public servants," Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
A government funding bill passed by Congress in March, included a 21 percent increase in the Members' Representational Allowance for each office, which will cover the pay adjustment, Pelosi said, adding that the deadline to increase minimum pay to $45,000 is Sept. 1.
The changes are meant to match the levels set on the Senate side.
"With a competitive minimum salary, the House will better be able to retain and recruit excellent, diverse talent," Pelosi wrote in the letter. "Doing so will open the doors to public service for those who may not have been able to afford to do so in the past. This is also an issue of fairness, as many of the youngest staffers working the longest hours often earn the lowest salaries."
The speaker also said the House will vote next week on a resolution, sponsored by Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., that would allow staffers to form a union. The Senate would have to pass its own legislation to let staffers in the upper chamber unionize.
"When the House passes this resolution, we will pave the way for staffers to join in union, if they so choose," she said. "Congressional staffers deserve the same fundamental rights and protections as workers all across the country, including the right to bargain collectively."
Staffers announced in early February that they planned to organize a union for aides who work in lawmakers' offices and for committees on Capitol Hill.