2024-06-18 6:29 PM

Statement: Fairfax County Public Schools Staff Collective Bargaining Vote

Today, Fairfax County School Board Chair Karl Frisch released the following statement on the heels of news that instructional and operational staff in Fairfax County Public Schools – one of Virginia’s largest employers – have voted to allow Fairfax Education Unions to represent and collectively bargain for them:

“This is a historic and exciting day for Fairfax County. Collective bargaining will help staff retention and student success. After all, teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. Everyone wins when educators and other school staff have a seat at the decision-making table — pay increases, working conditions improve, and turnover becomes less common.”

“Growing up, my dad had a public sector union job, and my mother waited tables. Our family’s stable middle-class existence was a direct result of their hard work and the transformative power of collective bargaining. I am excited that our tireless educators and staff now have that right too.”

BACKGROUND:

In February 2020, the Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to reverse its longstanding opposition to collective bargaining rights for teachers and staff, adopting an amendment sponsored by Frisch to the FCPS legislative program — issues the school division lobbies for and against in Richmond and Washington.

A few weeks later, the General Assembly came through, giving localities, including school boards, the option of granting collective bargaining rights to public employees. The Fairfax County School Board moved quickly, initiating a process following an “interest-based” model to draft a resolution for board consideration.

Each of the school division’s 17 certified employee associations was invited to participate in the collective bargaining resolution’s development, working with division counsel, staff, and experts for more than a year to reach a consensus.

Following that process, the Fairfax County School Board hosted a work session to discuss the draft resolution’s finer details. It also held a public hearing to receive feedback from staff, students, families, and other community members.

Last March, the School Board passed a resolution providing collective bargaining rights to teachers and other staff in FCPS, opening the door for today’s historic staff vote. Frisch sponsored the resolution, which was seconded by then-School Board Member Stella Pekarsky.

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