McCarthy Opposes Hill Staffers Unionizing, Says It’s Not ‘Productive for the Government’

  • Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he’s against letting Capitol Hill staffers unionize.
  • “No. I don’t think it would be productive for the government,” he told Punchbowl News on Monday.
  • Pelosi and Schumer back the idea, and Democrats plan to introduce resolutions to enable unionization.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday came out against a nascent effort to allow staffers in congressional offices to unionize.

“No. I don’t think it would be productive for the government,” the California Republican told Punchbowl News.

After being asked last week about an Instagram account called Dear White Staffers — where congressional staffers have been dishing about low pay, a lack of diversity, and bad bosses on Capitol Hill — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her support for the idea.

“Like all Americans, our tireless Congressional staff have the right to organize their workplace and join together in a union. If and when staffers choose to exercise that right, they would have Speaker Pelosi’s full support,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also voiced his support the next day.

A group called the Congressional Workers Union launched an organizing effort on Friday, and Democratic Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan said he’ll introduce the necessary legislation this week to enable staffers to unionize.

As Insider’s Kayla Epstein reported, each chamber must pass a resolution to enable staffers in that chamber’s respective offices and committees to unionize. After that, it’s up to each individual office — not Congress as a whole — to form a union for their respective staffers, if they choose to do so.

While Republicans do not currently control either chamber of Congress, McCarthy’s comments signal that unionization could take place largely on one side of the aisle. It also raises the possibility that Republicans may take steps to roll back unionization efforts if they take retake control of Congress after the 2022 midterms.

Insider has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.

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