In a powerful Letter to the Editor in the Prince William County Times, Ginger Galaini outlines the challenges faced by Prince William County employees and how collective bargaining for part-time workers will help.
Click here for the full letter.
I am a library manager at Dale City Library and a resident of Dale City as well. I’ve been in this role for five years. I’ve been an employee of Prince William County for seven, and I’ve been living in the county for just under 14 years.
I serve my neighbors, and I really love my job, but there are many challenges. Notably, the cost of living has skyrocketed in my area, and after the re-evaluation of our pay back in 2019, COVID hit.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, we have not received cost-of-living adjustments. Our pay has not kept up with inflation, so what’s always been hard is now much more difficult.
In November, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors passed an ordinance to give workers the right to bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions. This is a critical step in addressing our workforce crisis. Unfortunately, many part-time workers were left out. The supervisors promised to revisit the ordinance in 90 days. When they do, they need to include the essential part-time workers who make our county great.
I supervise five people at the library, and all of my employees are part-time. It’s so important to me to advocate for my part-time staff; they are the lifeblood of the library. During the pandemic, Prince William County labeled all of its employees “essential,” including part-time workers. Despite being essential, their health insurance is not subsidized in any way, they get fewer paid holidays than I do, and they accrue leave much more slowly than I do – including sick leave. That’s simply not fair.
The work that part-time staff do is vital to my job and to Prince William Public Libraries as a whole. If the library were to lose all of its part-time employees tomorrow, we’d be dead in the water, yet we lose employees all the time because other localities offer full-time positions with better pay and we can’t. In my experience, most of the employees we’ve lost have gone to Fairfax County or the City of Alexandria.
I urge the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to amend its collective bargaining ordinance to allow workers to freely negotiate over pay, benefits and working conditions, and to allow all part-time workers, regardless of their benefit status, to join in their union.
Let’s make it known that Prince William County is accountable to its essential employees and that the work county employees do to better our community every day is acknowledged and appreciated.