Today, the staff for Senator Markey’s office took the unprecedented step of seeking voluntary recognition of their effort to unionize. Although the House of Representatives in the 117th Congress granted its employees the ability to exercise their rights to collectively negotiate, the Senate has yet to take similar action. Demand Progress supports Senator Markey’s staff and the right for every Senate and joint congressional staffer to unionize.
“We applaud the staff of Senator Markey for seeking voluntary recognition for their nascent union,” said Taylor J. Swift, senior policy advisor of Demand Progress, a non-governmental organization focused on strengthening our democracy that led a broad coalition to advocate for the right of congressional staff to unionize in both chambers and pushed for higher staff pay and benefits.
“Seeking union recognition can be a difficult and intimidating process, but it is a crucial step towards securing workers’ rights and protections. The staff of Senator Markey’s office have shown courage and determination in their decision to unionize, a right federal employees, including those at the Architect of the Capitol, Library of Congress, and Capitol Police, have enjoyed have enjoyed for decades.
We urge Senate leadership to introduce a resolution in accordance with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to support Senate and joint congressional workers in their right to collectively negotiate without fear of retaliation. Providing these protections to all congressional staffers will foster a safer and more equitable workplace.”
Demand Progress and the Demand Progress Education Fund have been at the forefront of research and advocacy on unionization on Capitol Hill, examining and ultimately championing unionization under the Congressional Accountability Act starting in 2018. Policy Director Daniel Schuman authored a brief history of unionization in September 2020, submitted written testimony calling for unionization in the House to the House Legislative branch Appropriations Subcommittee in April 2021, submitted testimony concerning unionization in March 2022 to the House Administration Committee, and, with former Senior Advisor and Counsel on the first staff of the Office of Compliance/Office of Congressional Workplace Rights Kevin Mulshine, compiled a primer on union rights in 2022. Demand Progress writes a weekly newsletter focused on governmental transparency and Congress, the First Branch Forecast.