Collective bargaining legislation conference report

March 16, 2020

Legislation changing provisions of the Code related to collective bargaining for public employers and employees came out of conference committee and passed the House and Senate with language preserving local option for local public employers. HB 582 (Guzman)/SB 939 (Saslaw) were substituted in conference committee with language that preserves the prohibition on striking by public employees. The legislation allows Counties, Cities, Towns, and school boards to allow their employees to engage in collective bargaining via ordinance or resolution, but still excludes constitutional officers and their employees. Any such ordinance or resolution authorizing collective bargaining would be required to provide a process for the certification and decertification of exclusive bargaining representatives. Additional language added in conference committee requires a local governing body to vote within 120 days of receipt of any certification from a majority of public employees in a collective bargaining unit whether or not to adopt an ordinance or resolution to allow for collective bargaining for said unit of employees.

As previously reported, VACo opposes any effort to mandate collective bargaining for public employees, which the bill’s language in its current modified form does not mandate. The legislation now awaits action from Governor Ralph Northam. Thank you to everyone who responded to our action alerts on this issue.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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