Firefighters, medics and other Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department employees will have a union represent them in the county’s first collective bargaining negotiations for public workers in over 40 years.
Over 800 FCFRD workers participated in a 13-day election last month to determine whether to have union representation for contract talks with the county government, which will establish pay, benefits and other working conditions.
The only union in contention, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2068 won with a decisive 797 votes, or 95.2%. The only other option on the ballot was to have no representation, which received 40 votes, the union announced Friday (Nov. 18).
With 1,533 members, Local 2068 represents firefighters, fire marshals, mechanics, medics and emergency dispatchers employed by Fairfax County. 837 eligible voters — 54.6% — cast a ballot in the election from Oct. 12-31.
“This is a monumental day for the members of our department,” IAFF 2068 President Robert Young said in a news release. “But it’s also a monumental day for all Fairfax County employees, and all of the residents of our community. We’ve shown that when Fairfax County workers come together…we have the power to have a say in the decisions that impact our lives and the lives of the communities we serve.”
Last week our Election for Bargaining Representation was officially certified – Local 2068 won with over 95% of the vote (!!!)
— Fairfax Firefighters (@IAFF2068) November 20, 2022
After Virginia ended a 44-year ban on collective bargaining for public sector workers in May 2021, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance on Oct. 19, 2021 granting employees the right to organize, elect union representatives and participate in union activities.
Under the ordinance, the county will recognize separate bargaining units for the fire department, police and other county workers. Elections haven’t been held yet for the police and general government units.
With negotiations expected to begin in early 2023, Local 2068 says one priority will be addressing the staffing shortages that have affected the fire department and other county agencies, from police to the park authority and public library system.
Local 2068 says first responders have been forced to work mandatory overtime, adding 12 to 24 hours on top of their standard 24-hour shift “sometimes with little to no notice.” The union says its members have performed over 80,000 hours of “holdovers” — equal to 3,333 24-hour days.
“Having members work such excessive mandatory overtime isn’t just bad for their health, but it’s a potential hazard for the community members we serve,” Young said. “We look forward to addressing this issue at the bargaining table.”
Collective bargaining negotiations will last up to November 2023. A resulting agreement won’t take effect until July 1, 2024, when the county’s fiscal year 2025 begins.
Some issues could be addressed earlier as part of the upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget process, which will begin in earnest when County Executive Bryan Hill presents his proposed plan on Feb. 21.
Young said Local 2068 will advocate for merit and cost of living pay increases as well as funding for automated ambulance loaders — stretchers where the legs automatically fold up as the device is rolled into a vehicle.
“We’re the only jurisdiction in the region that doesn’t have access to these tools, tools that not only help prevent members from being injured, but also help us deliver faster and safer service to the community,” Young said.
The D.C. area’s first-ever Winter Lantern Festival is coming to Lerner Town Square at Tysons II (courtesy Kaleido Arts & Entertainment Group) Thousands of lanterns will take over Lerner Town…
Fairfax County Public Schools Fairfax County Public Schools could require parental notifications for class materials deemed sexually explicit, but in a deviation from the state, the proposed policy directly addresses…
The Koons Chevy auto dealership at 2000 Chain Bridge Road (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) The developer behind Reston Station and Herndon’s stalled downtown redevelopment has turned its sights to…
A man walks by trash bins next to the curb (via Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash) (Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The service and staffing challenges plaguing trash collectors throughout Fairfax County…
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.
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.