Labor union movement grows nationwide and on Capitol Hill during pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill are the latest group of workers to push for unionizing since the pandemic started.

This comes as Starbucks employees nationwide started forming labor unions.

“We’re in a new era of work, and people are demanding more,” said Liz Shuler, President of AFL-CIO.

As unions form across the country, one of the newest groups is the Congressional Workers Union on Capitol Hill and it’s even getting support from the President.

“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,” said Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary.

The AFL-CIO represents 12.5 million people nationally and internationally.

Labor union president Liz Shuler believes the pandemic has caused a great awakening among workers with more unions striking for better work conditions.

“It takes a lot for workers to go on strike. Nobody wants to go on strike,” said Shuler. “But there was that line in the sand of, you know, we want to be treated with fairness and dignity and respect.”

A 2021 Pew Research Center survey shows liberal Democrats are likely to view labor unions in a positive light, while conservative Republicans likely view them negatively.

This same survey shows about seven-in-ten conservative Republicans say unions have a negative effect on the country today.

Shuler said whether people are in unions or not, more employees are now pushing for a better work life balance.

“We want jobs that provide health care and good pay and a decent retirement. And that’s not too much to ask, especially for the working people who really make this country hum,” said Shuler.

A new resolution in the House would extend organizing protections to congressional staff.

We reached out to Republican leadership in the House and Senate about these latest effort about unionizing Hill staffers but we haven’t heard back.