WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Addressing concerns about working conditions for some Capitol Hill aides, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a $45,000 minimum annual wage for House staff on Friday and one for a vote next week. Proposals that will pave the way for allies to join. Union.
While jobs on Capitol Hill are highly coveted and can lead to large salaries down the road, the work often involves grueling hours and low pay in an area where housing costs can leave little money for other necessities.
MPs set salaries for their colleagues. The money comes from allowances provided to each member to cover rent, equipment, salaries and other expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.
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Pelosi noted that the recent approval of a 21 percent increase in that allowance should more than cover the increased pay. She encouraged members to use the enhancement “to honor the committed work of their staff members.”
“Doing so will open doors to public service for people who may not have been able to do so in the past,” Pelosi said. “It’s also an issue of fairness, because the youngest workers who work the longest hours often earn the lowest wages.”
According to the House of Diversity and Inclusion, the deadline to apply the $45,000 annual minimum will be September 1. The average salary for employees working for an individual parliamentarian was $50,000 last year.
Pelosi’s moves come at a time when Biden is calling for the White House to implement policies designed to strengthen labor unions.
Activists from Democratic groups such as the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have gone on to form unions. And those efforts have extended to the House where Michigan Representative Andy Levine’s resolution provides for ratification of rules that would give employees the opportunity for collective bargaining if they so choose.
It is not possible for a bargaining unit to represent all or most of the House employees. Collective bargaining by workers will vary with hundreds of lawmakers and committees.
Republican lawmakers are generally opposed, describing unions as impractical for congressional offices, with unpredictable scheduling changes and inevitable turnover due to elections.
“It is a concept that can create multiple conflicts of interest and affect the constitutional responsibilities of members to the American people without the guarantee that any reform for the well-being of the employees will actually materialize,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. said. Hearing on this issue in March.
But in his letter to lawmakers on Friday, Pelosi said Congress workers deserve the same fundamental rights and protections as workers across the country, including the right to bargain collectively.
A volunteer group of employees, called the Congressional Workers’ Union, is leading the unionization effort.
“Next week, the credibility of the MPs will be tested. Will our boss eventually set the example?” The group tweeted in response to Pelosi’s announcement.