A Campaign By the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers
Collective Bargaining is coming to FCPS. FCFT and FEA are gathering feedback on staff's top priorities. Attend our issue-based listening sessions to share what you want your unions to prioritize when we get to contract negotiations. Meetings are 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm by Zoom.
Sept 20th - Pay
Oct 11th - Evaluation
Oct 25th - Special Ed.
Nov 15th - Support Staff
Nov 29th - Substitutes
Dec. 13th - Leave
Jan 10th - Specialists
Jan 24 - Planning time
Our Situation -VA elected officials vote to support collective bargaining
In May 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed a historic bill which overturned the more than 40 year blanket ban on public sector collective bargaining. The bill allows school boards and municipalities to engage in collective bargaining with their employees. This was a huge step for workers’ rights in Virginia - public service workers like teachers, firefighters, and nurses are no longer excluded from the right to negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions.
Now, educators in Fairfax County have the opportunity to engage in collective bargaining, pending a resolution from the school board. FCPS staff have not had a collective bargaining agreement since 1977.
We have FCFT members to thank for this huge accomplishment! During the 2020-2021 legislative session, members emailed and called their legislators, lobbied, testified, spoke to media and submitted letters to the editor to news outlets in support of this bill.
However, the fight to win collective bargaining for FCPS employees is not over. Despite announcing their support for collective bargaining when the state law passed, the School Board is dragging its feet on passing the resolution that would officially grant collective bargaining rights to FCPS staff. As of July 2022, it has been 15 months since the state law passed. In that time, Prince William schools, Arlington schools, and Richmond schools have all granted their employees bargaining rights. Additionally, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has passed their collective bargaining resolution for county employees. In order to win these essential collective bargaining rights, we need YOU in the fight to win collective bargaining for FCPS staff.
What is Collective Bargaining?
Collective Bargaining is the process in which workers and employers sit at the negotiating table to come up with a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"), a contract that is agreed upon by both sides and covers all workers in the specified bargaining unit(s). What this means is that we will have a collective bargaining election to make FCFT the exclusive bargaining representative for educational employees in Fairfax County.
Collective Bargaining is an additional tool for our union to get the things that FCPS employees need. Through our union, we’ll be able to negotiate a contract with our employer to determine our terms of employment, which could include 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 Does This Actually Mean For Us?
Through our democratically-elected 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.
Issues we have seen like pay freezes, the sub shortage, lack of planning time (and expectations to work outside of the scope of the job!), class sizes, and more - those can be addressed with provisions in a collective bargaining contract.
So What's Next?
The school board needs to pass the resolution that formalizes a collective bargaining election, at which point, the ballot will be sent to all FCPS employees to vote. FCFT and FEA have agreed as of April 2022 tocome together as a joint-bargaining agent - meaning, we’re standing together in coalition to win collective bargaining for FCPS employees that can best serve educators, support staff, and our students! The two options on the ballot will now be the “Association of Fairfax Education Unions” (which represents FCFT and FEA) or “No Union”. If no union wins a majority, then no union will receive the bargaining rights.
We will call for a collective bargaining election when we know we have the support of FCPS employees and are in a position to win. We are organizing members and building our union strength at schools across the county.
We will all need to work together to ensure that our union is ready to seize this historic opportunity and win a union election - an opportunity that could take another 40 YEARS if unsuccesful. This means that we’ll need to strengthen our union and increase our membership. We need all members to become more active in building up our union strength.
The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and the Fairfax Education Association are working together to secure collective bargaining for all FCPS non-administrative employees. Join us today!
Here are some way you can get involved