Newsletter

Fairfax County board debates scope and terms of collective bargaining ordinance for public employees

Fairfax County Government Center seal (via Machvee/Flickr)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is working its way toward letting public workers collectively bargain in the wake of a statewide change in 2020 to lift a decades-old restriction.

A board’s personnel committee met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss a draft ordinance that would let Fairfax County workers make union contracts with the county government, giving them the power to negotiate pay and other benefits.

“I think we’re moving in a good direction,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said after sharing concerns that the proposed ordinance might exempt too many employees from collective bargaining.

While managers, supervisors, volunteers, and other workers are slated to be excluded under the draft ordinance, the board is looking at where temporary workers such as summer lifeguards and seasonal park workers as well as non-merit employees should fall.

The proposed ordinance would serve as the framework for what can and can’t be done through collective bargaining. Once approved, it would allow workers to vote to form a bargaining unit, and employees who don’t want to be involved wouldn’t have to pay dues but could still receive the benefits of the change, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said.

The draft discussed Tuesday calls for collective bargaining agreements that would last three years or longer, with separate units for general government employees, police, and fire and emergency services. It also bans strikes and spells out numerous other issues.

The county’s ordinance would be separate from Fairfax County Public Schools, which has over 24,000 employees.

Gross, who chairs the personnel and reorganization committee that’s overseeing the development of the draft, said she expects the board will pass an ordinance, which could happen this year.

SEIU Virginia 512, a union that already includes over 2,000 members in Fairfax County from dues-paying maintenance workers and nurses to librarians and social workers, welcomed the board’s overall support.

But union president David Broder says the ordinance still falls short in several areas. Namely, he says it “artificially narrows” the scope of bargaining, excludes working conditions among the topics that can be negotiated, and could potentially leave thousands of workers out of the collective bargaining process.

“We’ve learned during the pandemic…that being able to bargain over working conditions is critical,” Broder said, noting the importance of safe and clean work sites, personal protective equipment availability, and scheduling.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk shared concerns about working conditions for public works and sanitation workers, expressing support for change.

Collective bargaining agreements could involve some 10,000 workers, Gross told Tysons Reporter, and the board is gathering more information on non-merit employees to help with its determinations.

“We have one opportunity to get this right, which is why we’re taking a little extra time to work on the ordinance,” Gross said.

In 1977, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that public-sector collective bargaining agreements weren’t permitted and existing ones were invalid, noting the state legislature could change that.

The General Assembly and governor approved legislation last year that gave localities the authority to develop ordinances for recognizing labor unions and permitting collective bargaining. That measure took effect on May 1.

The personnel committee will meet again on July 20, and the board expects to have a public hearing in October.

Photo via Machvee/Flickr

Recent Stories

Giant Food in Vienna (via Google Maps) A man who allegedly fired a gun during a family dispute in the parking lot of Vienna’s Giant Food has been arrested, the…

Inova workers who helped administer Covid vaccines, including for school employees, will be among those honored by Fairfax County (photo by Karen Bolt/Fairfax County Public Schools) As work gets underway…

Inside Fairfax City Regional Library (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Fire Department Gets Grant for Cancer Screenings — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department recently got a $450,000 grant…

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors recently got a preview of what future transit connections between Tysons and Maryland could look like. At a transportation committee meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 31),…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list