House Republicans want to wipe out staff unions, but it’s not that simple – JP
Similarly, it’s unlikely that the other seven offices that filed petitions to form unions would be stopped from doing so. And it’s less likely still that any rules language could nullify a collective bargaining agreement those unions might sign before the House gets its affairs in order. So far, though, only one staff union has signed a contract — former Michigan Democratic Rep. Andy Levin’s office did just before his term ended after he lost a primary.
If the rules package passes, it’s unclear how the OCWR would respond. The office’s five-member board is jointly picked by the House and Senate’s majority and minority leaders. If they continued to oversee union elections, the speaker might sue; if they didn’t, the unions or would-be organizers might sue.
In either case, a federal court might decide it’s a nonjusticiable political question, leaving the legal matter unsettled.
Regardless of where the courtroom arguments ultimately lead, the practical destination will remain largely the same for staffers and members. Labor laws generally protect workers who decide to band together to collectively bargain with their bosses by preventing employers from retaliating against them.
If a member — or any boss, really — wants to treat their workers like a union without the legal formalities, they can. In 2019, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office made headlines for raising the wages for low-level staff by paying top aides less.