Biden backs effort by Capitol Hill staffers to unionize

President Biden holds an executive order regarding project labor agreements at Irownworks Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Friday, February 4, 2022.
Greg Nash

The White House on Tuesday threw its support behind a burgeoning effort by congressional staffers to unionize.  

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that President Biden supports the effort when asked about it during a regular press briefing.  

“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,” she said.  

Psaki declined to say whether the White House had been in touch with officials on Capitol Hill about the plans. 

Biden has vowed to be the most pro-union president ever, and therefore his support for the unionization drive on Capitol Hill does not come as a particular surprise.  

Congressional staffers announced on Friday that they planned to unionize. They have received support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).  

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has expressed opposition to the drive, telling Punchbowl News that he doesn’t believe it would be “productive for the government.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key centrist Democrat, also appeared skeptical of the effort on Tuesday, saying that he and his staff serve at the “will and pleasure” of West Virginians.   

“I want to make sure we serve the people of West Virginia. That’s our responsibility. But if there’s staff that is not being treated fairly, that should be looked into and taken care of,” Manchin said. 

Meanwhile, a White House task force earlier this week unveiled a lengthy report with recommendations to bolster union membership among federal government employees and contractors.  

Tags Charles Schumer Congressional staff Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi Union organizing
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