Manchin skeptical of congressional staff union

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday appeared skeptical of congressional staffers unionizing, an idea that has gained support from top Democrats.

Manchin, who said he hadn’t heard of the unionizing effort, said he and his staff served 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. 

“I’ve always been a big supporter of the unions, having a right to unionize. … I’m here at the will and pleasure of the people. They have a chance to change and things of that sort. So we got to make sure we’re doing it and doing it right. My greatest thing is to have the best staff I possibly can to serve the people of West Virginia,” Manchin added. 

Manchin didn’t say that he opposed congressional staff organizing — a nuance emphasized afterward by his staff. 

Congressional staffers on Friday announced they were launching unionization efforts amid growing support from Democratic leadership.

“After more than a year of organizing as a volunteer group of congressional staff, we are proud to publicly announce our efforts to unionize the personal offices and committees of Congress, in solidarity with our fellow workers across the United States and the world,” the Congressional Workers Union said in a statement

Top Democrats have endorsed the effort. 

Drew Hammill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) deputy chief of staff, tweeted on Thursday that Pelosi would give her “full support” “if and when staffers choose to exercise” their right to unionize. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s office (D-N.Y.) also said he would support the effort.

“Leader Schumer believes that hard-working Senate staff have the right to organize their workplace and if they chose to do so, he would support that effort,” a spokesperson for Schumer said in a statement. 

But the Senate and House would need to pass resolutions, which could face headwinds from Republicans.

“No. I don’t think it would be productive for the government,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Punchbowl News

Tags Charles Schumer Congressional staff Joe Manchin Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi Senate unionization West Virginia workers rights
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