A campaign by the fairfax county federation of teachers
Our Situation - VA elected officials vote to support collective bargaining
Big news! The Virginia legislature passed a bill that will allow school boards and local governments to engage in collective bargaining with their employees. The bill is on its way to the Governor for his signature. This is a historic step forward for educators and other public service workers in Virginia. In Fairfax County, the School Board and Board of Supervisors have announced their support for collective bargaining too.
Virginia has been one of only three states in the country that explicitly bans public service workers like teachers, firefighters, and nurses from the right to negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions. With the passage of this bill, educators in Fairfax County will be able to now engage in collective bargaining if the locality agrees.
What is Collective Bargaining?
What this means is that we will have a union election to make FCFT the exclusive bargaining representative for educational employees in Fairfax County. Through our union, we’ll be able to negotiate a contract with our employer to determine our terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, planning time, class sizes and more. This will be a game changer for our union and will be a way to solve workplace problems.
What this means?
First Governor Northam must sign this legislation into law and then it would go into effect July 1st. Then we will have a union election to make FCFT the exclusive bargaining representative for educational employees in Fairfax County. In order to qualify for the election, at least 30 percent of potential members of the union must sign authorization cards. The union that wins the election, will become the exclusive bargaining representative in the county. In order to start bargaining, a minimum of over 51% of eligible employees must be a member of the union.
Through our union, educators will have a seat at the table to bargain for the resources our students and educators need. Educator working conditions are student learning conditions and with collective bargaining, you’ll have a voice at work to negotiate for better working conditions for you, your students and our entire community.
So What's Next?
Governor Northam has 30 days to act on the collective bargaining bill for it to become law. We’ll all need to work together to ensure that once this historic bill is signed our union is ready to win a union election. This means that we’ll need to strengthen our union and increase our membership. We’ll need all members to help build our union. Email us to get involved today at email@example.com!
While this bill is a significant step forward, it was changed significantly from its original version. The bill does not grant state and higher education workers collective bargaining rights. Moving forward, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure these rights are extended to all workers in all sectors so that all of Virginia’s workers—regardless of where they work—have a voice on the job.
The support for collective bargaining by our elected officials proves that elections matters. In November, a string of pro-educator candidates won their elections at the state and local level. Nearly every FCFT endorsed candidate won their election for School Board, Board of Supervisors and the state legislature. When we elect lawmakers who share our values and who believe in uplifting workers, we get the legislation that gives people a hand up and a path to the middle class.