Belabored: The Union on the Hill, with Janae Washington and Taylor Doggett

Belabored: The Union on the Hill, with Janae Washington and Taylor Doggett

Two congressional staffers discuss the push to unionize Capitol Hill.

Philip Bennett, president of the Congressional Workers Union, speaks at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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Congressional staff have for decades been denied the right to unionize and collectively bargain, but that changed earlier this year with the enactment of key legislation enabling legislative staff to form unions. For months, the Congressional Workers Union has been campaigning to secure union rights for legislative aides and others on Capitol Hill, and have organized staffers of representatives Cori Bush, Chuy Garcia, Ro Khanna, Andy Levin, Ted Lieu, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Melanie Stansbury. The CWU has already negotiated for higher wage floors for congressional staffers and hopes to change the organizing landscape for government workers in Washington and beyond. On the heels of the first CWU election at the Levin’s office, we spoke to two congressional staffers and organizers, Janae Washington and Taylor Doggett, about the political and cultural ramifications of the union drive on the Hill.

In other news, we look at the perils of hybrid work for women, a new farmworker bill for California, rideshare drivers under California’s controversial independent-contractor law, and the UK’s Labour Party conference. With recommended reading on working through Hurricane Ian and industrial policy without labor.

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Rachel Hall, Hybrid working may hold back women’s careers, say managers, Guardian

Eliza McCullough, Brian Dolber, Justin Scoggins, Edward-Michael Muña, and Sarah Treuhaft, Prop 22 Depresses Wages and Deepens Inequities for California Workers, National Equity Atlas 

Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen, Belabored: Stopping the Spread of Prop 22, Dissent 

Michelle Chen, A Blow for Labor Rights in California, Dissent

Labour disputes, UK: July 2022 update and future work, Office for National Statistics

Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Drivers’ anger as Labour hosts Deliveroo ‘PR event’ at annual conference, openDemocracy

Jessica Garrison, Newsom signs UFW bill aimed at helping California farmworkers organize, Los Angeles Times 

Solcyre Burga, California Farmworkers March 335 Miles for Labor RightsTime


Congressional Workers Union

Li Zhou, The House will allow staffers to unionize. Here’s how it will workVox

Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Sarah: Paul Blest, Company Asked Employees to Bring Family, Pets to Office to Work Through Hurricane Ian, Vice 

Michelle: Lee Harris, Industrial Policy Without Industrial UnionsAmerican Prospect

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