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Ilhan Omar

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) attends a news conference outside of the U.S. Capitol on September 29, 2022. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett

Organizers announced Friday that the staffs of two progressives in Congress became the second and third offices to unionize after House Democrats passed a historic resolution enabling them to do so earlier this year.

Following the first successful union election by staffers of outgoing Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.)—who led the related resolution—the offices of Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) voted to form unions.

"What an incredible thing to watch workers come together and demand democracy in the workplace, and in Congress of all places!" said Courtney Rose Laudick, VP of organizing with the Congressional Workers Union (CWU). "Cheers goes out to these brave workers. Welcome to the union family."

CWU said in a statement that "we are witnessing a monumental moment right now on Capitol Hill and in the labor movement that will go down in history."

"Congratulations to the brave staff in Congresswoman Omar's office for their landslide election victory," CWU added. "We look forward to working with former union member and labor champion, Congresswoman Omar."

Omar also welcomed the development, which she tied to a broader resurgence of the U.S. labor movement—with U.S. workers fighting for unions at major corporations including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Starbucks.

"As a former union member myself and someone who represents a union district in Minnesota, I am deeply proud of my staff for making their collective voices heard and voting to unionize," Omar said. "Unions are the bedrock of the middle class."

"The labor movement helped get us the 40-hour work week, the weekend, and child labor laws," she continued. "Every single worker deserves a union to represent them and fight for their wages, benefits, and basic workplace protections. It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff. I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Khanna similarly welcomed the news in a series of tweets Friday, congratulating his staff and recognizing that "it takes tremendous bravery to stand up and chart a new path forward."

Khanna and Omar's offices voted this week, after CWU announced Monday that Levin's staff voted unanimously "to bargain collectively and have a seat at the table to determine workplace conditions and benefits."

While Khanna and Omar are widely expected to win reelection in November, Levin, a Jewish progressive, was defeated in an August primary by fellow incumbent Democrat Haley Stevens, who was backed by millions of dollars from pro-Israel groups.


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