Union push in Congress

Congressional staff is no place for a union. I’m not anti- union, far from it, but the important and sensitive – quite unique – job of supporting and advising members of Congress is not a union job.

Democrats should think twice before they rush to placate.

No doubt the job is stressful with long hours and relatively low pay for Washington, DC, but if Democrats were sincere they have the power to fix all that themselves. You don’t need a union.


“It could produce some changes, in particular in member offices which agree to hire union staff,” he said. “But my skepticism about the effectiveness of this is more about how it fits into the current structure of Congress, which is that members can do whatever they want.”

Joshua McCrain, a political science professor at the University of Utah said it’s hard to imagine how a union would look in practice, especially because there is such a competitive labor market and such a large pool of applicants — the very reasons why members of Congress can often get away with underpaying or mistreating staff. ”

What Congress is saying is that it is no better at treating its employees than the “greedy” corporation some members of Congress endlessly criticize.

House Democrats vowed to introduce a resolution in the coming days that would allow staffers working in the chamber to form a union.  The announcement came amid a sudden outpouring of support, as frustration among staffers reached a fever pitch and members of Congress tuned in to long-standing complaints about inequity and pay.

In testimony submitted to the House Appropriations panel tasked with devising the fiscal 2022 package, Demand Progress Policy Director Daniel Schuman recommended appropriators require OCWR to provide a report to give clarity on Congress’ options. The committee did not ultimately include his recommendation in its final bill, he said. 

“Congressional staff are essential to the success of Congress. They work to advance the public interest, often at low wages, for long hours, and in difficult circumstances,” Schuman said in a statement to CQ Roll Call Friday. “They should be afforded the protection of the laws that apply to the American people, including the right to collectively organize in support of better working conditions.”

Source: Union push in Congress explodes into view, but obstacles remain for staffers


  1. I suspect ulterior motives in this plan. Staffers do all the background work; they do the written work (along with lobbyists) for bills and proposals. They have a tremendous influence since they know how the game is played and the newly elected reps don’t. They often disappear into think tanks or lobbying offices when their side loses and pop back in when their side wins again. A union means a slap on the wrist for most violations and they won’t be fired except for the most egregious offenses and that means the elected are stuck with them. They should be discretionary employees and not have a permanent status.


  2. I am pro union, but why would a congressman want to tie his hands with staff assignments? Would they have to go to the congressional union hall to pick policy advisors by whom has seniority? What if you get a worker from NYC and you represent farmers from Wyoming? What if you have a midnight vote and the staffers have to go home? The staffers are not even covered by civil service protections. The staffers know what a crappy job it is when they hire on. They are not there for the money and the job term could be as little as 2 years.
    This makes no sense. Each congressman could always treat there staff better. Congress just started paying interns in 2019, which goes to show people are not there for the money.

    Liked by 1 person

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