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Fairfax Virginia Lecturers Vote Overwhelmingly To Kind Union


Public college workers in one of many largest college districts within the U.S. have voted overwhelmingly to kind unions, capitalizing on a latest Virginia regulation that permits for collective bargaining within the public sector.

The 2 votes within the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax County lined greater than 27,000 staff, placing them among the many largest union elections in recent times. The county’s academics voted almost 97% in favor of unionizing, whereas the operations employees, which incorporates custodians, meals staff and bus drivers, voted almost 81% in favor.

A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Faculties couldn’t instantly be reached for remark Monday. The election outcomes have been launched Monday by the 2 unions representing the employees, the Fairfax Schooling Affiliation and the Fairfax County Federation of Lecturers.

Leslie Houston, president of the Fairfax Schooling Affiliation, mentioned in a press release that the unions would deal with “securing truthful compensation and residing wages for all.”

Till not way back, Virginia was one among a small handful of states that barred public-sector collective bargaining, forbidding staff from negotiating over wages and advantages since a state Supreme Court docket choice in 1977. However as Virginia has shifted from crimson to blue in recent times, it’s grow to be extra welcoming to organized labor, a pillar of the Democratic Celebration.

Fairfax County Public School buses sit idle at a middle school in Falls Church, Virginia, in July 2020.
Fairfax County Public College buses sit idle at a center college in Falls Church, Virginia, in July 2020.

AP Picture/J. Scott Applewhite

In 2020, spurred on by stress from labor teams, Virginia’s Democratic-led meeting handed a invoice overturning the decadesold ban on public worker unionism. The laws was signed into regulation by then-Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, giving unions hope they may construct membership within the right-to-work state.

The regulation permits for municipal workers throughout Virginia to kind unions, as long as their native officers approve it. A number of Democratic strongholds within the state have since handed resolutions or ordinances paving the best way for collective bargaining, together with the state capital of Richmond and the Washington suburb of Alexandria.

The Fairfax County College Board handed a decision giving the inexperienced gentle for union elections final yr. The organizing within the college system was a joint effort by associates of the nation’s two main academics unions, the Nationwide Schooling Affiliation and the American Federation of Lecturers.

Jo Ann Madison, a Fairfax bus driver, mentioned in a press release Monday by her union that the county’s public college workers would now have “a seat on the desk” to discount over their working circumstances.

“We’re counting down the times till we have now a legally binding contract,” Madison mentioned.

Correction: This story initially misstated Houston’s affiliation. She is president of the Fairfax Schooling Affiliation, not the Fairfax County Federation of Lecturers.

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