- The workers were empowered to form a union that, in addition to representing them, can improve their working conditions.
After a long period of negotiation, the struggle of dozens of workers who work in Congress produced a very favorable result, since this week they were empowered to form a union that, in addition to representing them, can improve their working conditions.
With the passage of the Accountability Act of 1995, Congress had given bargaining rights to its employees. However, to enforce them, an additional resolution was required, which had already been presented since February by Andy Levin, a Democratic congressman from the state of Michigan.
Likewise, the US House of Representatives also endorsed it on May 10.
In this sense, it was only expected that this Monday the interim period would end so that the trading rights would be fully protected.
For this reason, Levin himself described the process as something historic not only for the workers but for the nation itself.
“At last they can create a union without fear of reprisals. I am proud that on its first day, workers from eight offices have already applied. This is a historic moment for our country”, he mentioned in front of several media outlets.
Today is a historic day as the staffers of eight House offices take the first step towards unionizing their offices on the first day our right to bargain collectively is protected! pic.twitter.com/xU46gRLmqk
— Congressional Workers Union (@Congress_Union) July 18, 2022
Democracy was imposed
It should be noted that the workers’ plan to unionize was made public in February, a month after the Congressional Progressive Staff Association released a survey of 516 employees making it clear that 91% wanted greater legal protections for workers. Have a “voice” at work.
Practically half of those surveyed recognized many difficulties in reaching the end of the month with their salaries and almost 40% admitted having gone into debt to be able to live in Washington, one of the most expensive cities in the country and where renting a one-bedroom apartment around $2,200 a month.
In this regard, Philip Bennett, president of the so-called Congressional Workers’ Union, recognized that one of the priorities will be to achieve an improvement in the salaries received by employees, but it will also be necessary to “formalize the informal”, either in terms of vacations , promotions or remote work.
It should be noted that, while advisors to senators and congressmen and personnel office workers could form a union and jointly negotiate their working conditions, they were not protected by any rights in this regard.
However, from now on, they can no longer be fired or punished for unionizing by their respective bosses, and must negotiate working conditions with that entity.
The acquisition of these rights is only a first step, since the union will have to be formally constituted.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.