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Fairfax Virginia Academics Vote Overwhelmingly To Kind Union

Public college staff in one of many greatest college districts within the U.S. have voted overwhelmingly to type unions, capitalizing on a current Virginia regulation that enables for collective bargaining within the public sector.

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

A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Colleges couldn’t instantly be reached for remark Monday. The election outcomes had been launched Monday by the 2 unions representing the employees, the Fairfax Training Affiliation and the Fairfax County Federation of Academics.

Leslie Houston, president of the Fairfax Training Affiliation, stated in an announcement that the unions would deal with “securing honest 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 purple to blue lately, it’s turn into extra welcoming to organized labor, a pillar of the Democratic Social gathering.

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

AP Photograph/J. Scott Applewhite

In 2020, spurred on by strain 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 staff throughout Virginia to type 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 Faculty 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 lecturers unions, the Nationwide Training Affiliation and the American Federation of Academics.

Jo Ann Madison, a Fairfax bus driver, stated in an announcement Monday via her union that the county’s public college staff would now have “a seat on the desk” to discount over their working circumstances.

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

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

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