The Hill Notable Staffers 2023

Philip Bennett: Founding president, Congressional Workers Union; Director of Operations, Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.)

For Philip Bennett, the day then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threw her support behind congressional staff unionizing was “like Christmas Eve.”

“That was a day I’ll never forget,” he said in an interview.

As a founder and the first president of the Congressional Workers Union, Bennett helped complete a project that “some would say [was] years or even decades in the making”: an organization to facilitate the process of unionizing on Capitol Hill.

Congressional offices are notorious for their poor working conditions, the low pay and long hours chief among them. But early on in the coronavirus pandemic, a group of staffers — including ones from the Congressional Progressive Staff Association — started discussing the possibility of unionizing, which led to the creation of the Congressional Workers Union.

“We wanted to find a tool that would advocate for us,” Bennett said. “It was a tool made by staffers for staffers. And it was kind of like a paradigm shift, honestly, in kind of like the way that things go on the Hill.”

Since the group was founded, several offices have unionized on Capitol Hill. The first was former Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), which happened in September 2022 — during Bennett’s tenure as president.

“I think just being able to, like, advocate and name the things that we want to change and kind of like be that vessel for the staffers to use and, you know, have that platform … [that is] one of the values of the Union,” Bennett said.

Tags Andy Levin Nancy Pelosi Summer Lee The Hill notable staffers 2023