Capitol Visitor Center workers to unionize; issues include benefits, warmer uniforms

By Ed O'Keefe
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The men and women who conduct tours and assist visitors at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center plan to join a union.

Workers voted late last week to join Council 26 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union that also represents other legislative branch workers at the Architect of the Capitol and Library of Congress.

Of the 138 tour guides and visitor's assistants at the center, 96 voted to join the union and 33 voted against, said AFSCME's Carl Goldman. The workers began their organizing efforts earlier this year, he said Monday.

"All of them are very interested in the Capitol Visitor Center," Goldman said. "They're very dedicated to serving Congress and the public. They want their views to be taken seriously by management. They want to be given the tools to do their jobs."

Among other things, tour guides and assistants are looking for warmer winter jackets, easier access to the Internet during the day and some answers to questions regarding benefits payments, Goldman said.

"We look forward to discussing the next steps with AFSCME Council 26 representatives," said architect spokeswoman Eva Malecki.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company