Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Collective Bargaining Update

I am sure you are wondering why there wasn’t a report yesterday. The reason is simple--things at the General Assembly started to blow up and all focus had to be on taking care of the Collective Bargaining bill. You have probably seen all the alerts and requests for you to call your member of the House of Delegates. It’s because the Senate made some pretty dramatic (not great) moves on their version of the bill, and it shook House members.

On Monday, the Senate rolled the big collective bargaining bill (SB1022) into Chairman Saslaw’s SB939. His bill simply allows local school employees to collectively bargain with their employers if there is a passage of a local ordinance that describes how the bargaining arrangement will work. It is a very permissive bill but does remove the ban on bargaining for local employees, including school employees. It is not what we want, but it is what we always knew we might get as a first step. That move by the Senate rattled House Democrats, who were prepared to vote on their version of SB1022 because they realized the Senate was not going to take the same vote.

There has been enormous pressure on all the Democrats to oppose the bill. Who would oppose, you ask? Management, that is who. Virginia School Boards Association, Superintendents Association, Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League, First Cities, The Chamber of Commerce, Leadership from ALL of our public colleges and universities; basically, anyone who would have to recognize an employee association (UNION). The pressure has been very, very strong. We knew the “bad guys” would oppose us, and we knew that they would say exactly what hey are saying: taxes will go up, Unions are bad, Virginia doesn’t need this, this is bad for business. They have been on message and have been able to rattle our votes.

The VEA has been working as part of the Labor Coalition since the election and we know we are on the right side of this issue. In really good news, the House bill was debated today and advanced to its third and final read. The vote should be tomorrow, but we need to keep the pressure on our friends on this one.

The opponents to this bill will not let up for the next 24 hours. We MUST put the pressure on. Keep calling! Here’s a page with the info you need for the calls..