Massachusetts' Ed Markey recognizes staff union in historic Senate first

Washington DC - Senator Ed Markey has formally recognized his staffers' request for voluntary union recognition in a historic first for Congress' upper chamber.

Senator Ed Markey has recognized his staffers' request to form a union in a historic first.
Senator Ed Markey has recognized his staffers' request to form a union in a historic first.  © MANDEL NGAN / AFP

"Every single worker deserves the right to organize and bargain collectively, including in both chambers of the U.S. Congress," the Congressional Workers Union (CWU) said in a press release.

The CWU saw a wave of organizing wins in the House after the lower chamber passed a 2022 resolution to extend collective bargaining rights to congressional workers. Staffers' right to organize was written into the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, but Congress still had to approve the regulations necessary for implementation.

The Senate has yet to pass such a resolution.

Iran seizes ship "related" to Israel in major operation as tensions threaten to spiral
Israel-Gaza War Iran seizes ship "related" to Israel in major operation as tensions threaten to spiral

"It's been nearly a year and the Senate has failed to act, continuing to deny Senate workers basic human rights by refusing to pass a simple resolution to apply the same protections for Senate congressional staff," the CWU said.

"We commend the workers of Senator Ed Markey’s team who are joining together arm-in-arm in an unprecedented move to demand their rights – not ask for them."

Senator Markey formally recognizes staff union

Markey staffers could have potentially faced retaliation for their organizing efforts, but that didn't deter them from trying to unionize.

"On Team Markey we don’t agonize – we organize," the Markey Unit said. "As members of the staff of the Office of Senator Markey, we are honored to work everyday on behalf of the people of Massachusetts and this nation. And now, we couldn’t be more proud to announce that we have signed a petition to form a union, and request voluntary recognition."

Markey has a long history of supporting labor groups, with his 2020 reelection team the first statewide Massachusetts campaign to unionize.

"The work of the Senate and our democracy wouldn’t happen without congressional staffers, and I am proud to recognize their contributions and the effort of my staff to unionize," the Democratic lawmaker confirmed on X.

Cover photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP

More on Labor Unions: