By Kristin Wilson, CNN
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow staffers on Capitol Hill to unionize, a major development for labor activists who have pushed for the option for years.
The vote frees House staffers to form unions should they want, though it does not apply to staffers on the Senate side, as the bill is not expected to pass in the Senate.
The resolution was passed under a provision in a House Rules Committee rules package as a self-executing rule — known as a “deem and pass” — in which the bill is deemed passed by adoption of the rule. The tactic frees members from having to take a separate vote on the legislation.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to her colleagues that the vote would happen, writing, “Congressional staffers deserve the same fundamental rights and protections as workers all across the country, including the right to bargain collectively.”
Pelosi also announced in the letter that she has raised the base pay for House staffers to $45,000 starting September 1.
“With a competitive minimum salary, the House will better be able to retain and recruit excellent, diverse talent,” she wrote. “Doing so will open the doors to public service for those who may not have been able to afford to do so in the past. This is also an issue of fairness, as many of the youngest staffers working the longest hours often earn the lowest salaries.”
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CNN’s Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.