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working on the hill

Staffers on Capitol Hill launch unionization effort

Congressional staffers launched a unionization push on Friday under the name the Congressional Workers Union, Politico reports, an organization effort arriving "amid a growing reckoning with poor pay and hostile working conditions" on Capitol Hill, as well as "a fresh groundswell of lawmaker support."

"While not all offices and committees face the same working conditions, we strongly believe that to better serve our constituents will require meaningful changes to improve retention, equity, diversity, and inclusion on Capitol Hill," the group wrote in a statement released online. "We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table."

There is currently not a process in place for staffers to "codify a union or exercise collective bargaining rights," though they can organize, Politico notes. 

The poor conditions under which congressional staffers work have been thrust into the spotlight as of late, with staffer accounts detailing "horrific pay, long hours and discrimination accusations" swirling around social mediaPolitico writes.

The official unionization announcement also arrived conveniently after a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday tweeted that unionizing staff would have the speaker's "full support," per Politico. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also noted he would "support that effort."

According the the Congressional Accountability Act, both chambers of Congress must first pass a resolution allowing for unionization for the process to begin, per Insider. After that, every office and committee would have to "independently organize for itself," though the overarching CWU can assist in that process.

Multiple Democratic House lawmakers aside from Pelosi have already shared their support for organizing congressional staffers, Insider notes.