House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to her colleagues Friday morning that the chamber would vote on legislation that would allow Capitol Hill workers to unionize next week, a major development for labor activists who have made pressure for this option for years.
“Congressional staffers deserve the same basic rights and protections as workers across the country, including the right to bargain collectively,” she wrote in the letter.
While the Senate is unlikely to be able to pass similar legislation due to the 60-vote threshold needed to break the filibuster and lack of Republican support, the expected passage of the bill by the House would mean it would go into effect in the house because of the Congressional Accountability Act.
Pelosi also announced in the letter that she had increased the base salary of House staffers to $45,000 effective Sept. 1.
“With a competitive minimum wage, the House will be better able to retain and recruit excellent, diverse talent,” she wrote. “It will open the doors of public service to those who may not have had the means to do so in the past. It’s also a matter of fairness, as many of the youngest employees working the longest hours often earn the lowest wages.
It comes after Pelosi announced last August that House staffers would be eligible for higher salaries for the first time in decades in a bid to attract and retain experienced staff.