AFL-CIO president: Congressional staffers ‘have a home in America’s unions’
The president of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S. became the latest big name to publicly back unionization efforts among congressional staffers, saying in a video message published on Wednesday that they “have a home in America’s unions.”
“To the brave congressional staffers sharing their stories and speaking out for change, we stand with you. The labor movement has been watching recent developments on the Hill very closely. You are demanding better pay and working conditions and you have a home in America’s unions,” Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a video.
Shuler acknowledged that while working on the Hill can be challenging, health and livelihoods should not be compromised for public service.
“We are grateful to the leaders who have expressed their support for the right of Hill staff to organize including President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer,” Shuler said. “And we will continue to be there for any worker who wants to join our movement and negotiate for dignity and respect on the job.”
Congressional staffers last week publicly launched efforts to unionize as posts from an anonymous Instagram account called “Dear White Staffers” surfaced highlighting issues such as low pay and a lack of diversity.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) deputy chief of staff said on social media that Pelosi would back congressional staffers’ unionization efforts “if and when staffers choose to exercise” their right to unionize.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has similarly expressed his support for congressional staffers, but Hill staff members received their biggest endorsement yet on Tuesday when White House press secretary Jen Psaki also announced that President Biden supported those efforts.
“He supports the right of any individual to seek to join a union, to collective bargain, and of course Capitol Hill staffers are certainly individuals who are pursuing that,” Psaki told reporters.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), who has also spoke out in favor of unionization efforts, is expected to introduce a resolution in the House later on Wednesday.