GOP-controlled House passes bill to repeal landmark collective bargaining law for public service workers

RICHMOND, Va. – “Stronger communities. A Better Bargain” — a coalition of unions collectively representing thousands of working families across Virginia — today condemned Republicans for pass an invoice of the House of Delegates that would repeal a 2020 law that allowed a number of public service workers to gain the freedom to collectively bargain a contract through their unions.

Since it came into effect last year, Delegate Guzman HB 582 and Senator Dick Saslaw SB 939 triggered a series of collective bargaining orders. Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, the City of Alexandriaand the Richmond School Board have all taken action to commit to giving their workers a voice at work. Prince William County has taken a step in this direction, while the workers of Virginia BeachPortsmouth, richmond and Norfolk and the teachers of Albemarle County and Prince William County are engaged in various stages of the process of securing collective bargaining rights. the The daily press reports that Newport News public service workers demand collective bargaining rights from their city council.

“Richmond City employees work hard and keep our city running,” said Sonia Easter of SEIU Virginia 512, a Richmond City employee of 25 years. “I work directly with the public, supporting young people and their families. My role is one of the few that is on the proactive side of crime. I help solve problems upstream, especially misdemeanors and misdemeanors, so that young people can avoid the prison system. It’s essential work that experts say directly cuts the school-to-jail pipeline in our city. Collective bargaining is a mechanism that would allow the 3,000 City of Richmond employees to have a seat at the table and a voice in decisions that affect our jobs and livelihoods. He ensures that all employees are heard; that the employees of the small services like me, are not forgotten. Collective bargaining is the tool that creates true partnership and accountability between managers and employees, so that all of the unique needs necessary for proper functioning are recognized and taken into account. This is our opportunity to create real change here and throughout Virginia. We cannot go back.

As we continue to try to teach through political and public health pressures, we are left in the hands of many people who do not always see or recognize what is happening in the alternative setting in which I teach. said Paul Weiner, teacher at Norfolk Public Schools. “Collective bargaining will ensure that all teachers have their voices heard and help us get what we need to serve our students safely and effectively. »

“As an employee of the City of Alexandria, my job is not just a job, it’s a calling,” said Harlie White, traffic and light technician. “I care deeply about my community. In April last year, my colleagues and I worked with members of Alexandria City Council to enact the first collective bargaining ordinance in the Commonwealth in nearly forty years. The freedom to bargain collectively enables public service workers to fight for better services for the communities we serve. HB 883 would set us back by repealing a 2020 law that empowers localities to give utility workers the freedom to join a union, and local municipalities the autonomy to enact union agreements as they see fit. I oppose HB 883 along with other AFSCME members from the city of Alexandria.

“Through collective bargaining, we bargain for more than economic security. It is about securing vital resources to help our communities mobilize more public resources to improve education. Collective bargaining is good public policy,” said Charlotte Hayer, a Richmond high school teacher and VEA member.

“Collective bargaining is about working conditions, safety, benefits, training, equipment and more,” said Henrico County Active Firefighter Bill Boger, President of the Henrico Professional Fire Fighters Association and District Vice President of the Virginia Professional Fire. Fighters representing over 9,000 firefighters who protect the Commonwealth. “As frontline workers dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic on a daily basis, we are able to provide useful information on what we need to keep our communities safe. And as firefighters and EMS providers, we know firsthand what it takes to provide the best possible service. Collective bargaining is a way for workers to have a voice in their jobs. Through collaboration, employers and the communities they serve will see the benefit of having important shared decisions. Collective bargaining strengthens communities, where employees are seen not just as part of a budget, but as assets to the communities in which they live, work and raise their families. »

The legislation is carried by delegate Kathy Byron on behalf of the Administration Youngkin. The House of Delegates also advanced other legislation aimed at curtailing the freedom of public service workers to form a union and collectively bargain a contract, including HB 336, HB 337, and HB 341, all sponsored by Delegate Freitas, as well as the Le HB 790 delegate from LaRock.

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