House staff turnover is at its highest in at least 20 years, according to a new study released Monday, as some Democrats push to unionize.

According to LegiStormwhich tracks Congressional staff rosters and salaries, 55% more House staff left their jobs in 2021 than the year before amid both the COVID-19 pandemic and the attack on the Capitol.

The Chamber’s staff turnover rate in 2021 is the highest since at least 2001, which is the first full year for which LegiStorm has salary data.

The staff exodus has hit Democrats harder than Republicans, who are heavily favored to win a House majority in this year’s midterm elections. Democrats lost staff at a rate 24% higher than Republicans, according to LegiStorm.

Turnover among House Democratic lawmakers is also at an all-time high. A total of 31 House Democrats are not seeking reelection this year, the highest for the party in 30 years. It’s also only the third time since 1978 that either side has seen at least 30 retirements in a single cycle.

Congressional staffers announced in early February that they would form the Congressional Workers Union to lobby for better working conditions.

The push gained momentum after an Instagram account called Dear White Staffers went viral with anonymous accounts of low-level congressional staff struggling to pay bills and dealing with demanding bosses who often need help. 24 hour availability.

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), a former union organizer, introduced a resolution formally recognizing the ability of House staffers to form a union. On Monday, 165 fellow Democrats signed up as co-sponsors.

But the measure still needs to be formally approved by the full House with a vote. It’s also unclear how a House-wide union would work, given that each House’s offices have different employment policies.

House Democrats have passed other measures over the past year to help improve staff retention, which they say stems from low salaries that are not competitive with the executive or private sector.

The government’s omnibus spending plan that President Biden signed into law last week includes a 21% increase in funding for congressional offices to help boost staff compensation.

Members of Congress have not had a cost-of-living adjustment for their own salaries since 2009, meaning staff salaries were also not keeping up with inflation.

Lawmakers initially suspended annual cost-of-living adjustments for themselves to show solidarity with struggling Americans during the Great Recession. But since then, calls by a handful of lawmakers over the years to reinstate the annual wage increase have been met with suspicion about the optics.

House Democrats came close to reviving the annual cost-of-living adjustment in 2019, only to turn the tide when several lawmakers from competitive districts raised concerns.

Rank-and-file members of Congress earn $174,000 a year. According to the Congressional Research Service, their 2022 salaries would be $223,400 if they kept up with annual increases in the cost of living. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) decided last year to raise the salary cap for employees to $199,300, which means some top aides can now earn more than their bosses.

However, this decision did not establish a salary floor. This means entry-level staff can still earn salaries as low as $30,000, which doesn’t go that far in a city like the nation’s capital where the cost of living is high.