HB 582 (Guzman) mandates that Counties, as employers, are required to engage in collective bargaining with employees if only 30% of employees petition to form a collective bargaining unit and a majority of votes cast elect to designate a union or labor association as their exclusive representative to negotiate terms and conditions of employment.
The Code of Virginia currently prohibits collective bargaining for public employees in Virginia but does allow them to form associations to promote their interests. This bill mandates that public employers are required to engage in collective bargaining. This bill favors unions in every aspect of the process and will have a chilling effect on the employer-employee relationship. VACo opposes any effort to mandate collective bargaining for public employees.
Additional policy analysis on HB 582 can be found here.
- This bill removes local option as it forces local governments into collective bargaining if only 30% of employees petition to form a collective bargaining unit and a majority of votes cast elect to designate a union or labor association as their exclusive representative to negotiate terms and conditions of employment. The result could be a small number of your employees forcing collective bargaining on all employees.
- There is no dedicated funding source identified to handle the administration of collective bargaining at the local level. Costs could include additional administrative and legal staff, negotiation with exclusive representatives, mediation, and arbitration. Without a funding mechanism this will likely lead to higher taxes and/or a reduction in existing benefits and services and has the potential to be felt in every community of the Commonwealth.
- These bills could require local employees and County representatives to engage in mediation and arbitration of disputes with the PERB, a board that has no local representation or county expertise. This will add to expenses and could result in long protracted procedures for even small disputes.
- Passage of the bills will require Counties to spend valuable fiscal resources on labor attorneys and other experts to represent the interests of each locality.
HB 582 was passed by the House of Delegates, 54-45, and has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, where it could be heard as early as Monday, February 17. VACo continues to oppose this bill and speak in opposition to this mandate.
A similar bill without a mandate is SB 939 (Saslaw), which preserves local option to engage in collective bargaining. SB 939 is permissive but leaves the governance of any collective bargaining authority to be determined by local ordinance if a local public employer chooses to enact one. SB 939 passed the Senate, 21-19, and will likely be referred to the House Labor and Commerce Committee. VACo has taken no position on SB 939 but appreciates amendments made by the patron to maintain local authority and the prohibition on public employees striking.
Contact your legislator now to oppose HB 582.
Senate Commerce and Labor Committee – Email entire committee
Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee – Email entire committee