Congressional workers are speaking on camera for the first time to reveal a culture of abuse that sparked a drive to unionize Congress.
The workers are severely overworked and underpaid. Congressional staff work 60-70+ hour weeks with starting salaries between $30,000-$40,000 in one of the country’s most expensive cities. Many can’t afford rent, work second jobs, and skip doctor’s appointments to afford their positions. They’re organizing to form the Congressional Workers Union to fight for change.
While many members of Congress won on progressive platforms, these staffers say their bosses aren’t walking the walk. “Our bosses ran on a labor platform promising to give and protect every worker’s right to organize,” says one worker. In addition, workers fear a culture of sexual harassment and limited diverse voices due to inaccessible living standards.
Currently, congressional workers are not legally protected if they choose to organize. Michigan Representative Andy Levin and over 150 House Democrats have introduced a resolution to change that and give congressional staff the right to unionize. Senator Sherrod Brown is leading a similar effort in the Senate.