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Prince William Employees Win Collective Bargaining Rights, Supervisors Pledge to Make Fixes

November 22, 2022

In an historic vote, Prince William County employees win the right to join a union and collectively bargain. However, per the Prince William Times, "supervisors acknowledged the ordinance is a work in progress and pledged to review the document over the next 90 days to allow employees to continue to recommend possible adjustments."

After many months of advocating for their rights, employees united in SEIU Virginia 512 and their allies made history. Members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors passed a collective bargaining ordinance, giving county employees a path to negotiate a union contract with higher pay and improved benefits.

During Tuesday’s public hearing, county employees and community members called on the Board to pass meaningful collective bargaining rights that are inclusive of as many workers as possible. The ordinance passed 5-3.

“Prince William County workers are one step closer to bargaining a historic contract that will lift up all working families,” said David Broder, President of SEIU Virginia 512. “More work needs to be done, and we expect the Board to come back in 90 days to fix the ordinance and ensure meaningful collective bargaining is implemented for all county employees.”

While the ordinance has passed, the county board has committed to a 90-day review period to look into any additional changes that are still needed to make the ordinance strong and inclusive, like similar ordinances passed in six other Virginia localities. This ordinance does not allow for real bargaining over working conditions, leaves out essential non-benefited part-time employees, does not set clear standards and accountability for the County if they commit unfair labor practices, and does not ensure the employees’ right to use County communication systems (other than email) to discuss their union.

In response to employees insisting that critical changes be addressed, Supervisor Kenny Boddye put forward two directives, which the board passed:

  1. That the collective bargaining ordinance is reviewed by the Board of Supervisors within a 90-day period during which the community, employee organizations and other stakeholders can provide their input to the Board and County staff.
  2. That county staff review Chapter 19 of the Prince William County Code as it pertains to part-time, non-benefited employees to analyze what it would take to allow these employees to be included in the collective bargaining ordinance.

“Part-time non-benefited employees like me need to be part of your ordinance. We need to be able to have our values expressed and opinions heard through our union, just like other Prince William County employees and part-time workers in nearby counties,” said Ann Medford, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor with Prince William County’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department. “The exclusion of some of your best and most hard-working employees is fixable … you still have your moment to show us that you have our backs. That you support us.”

Prince William County employees united in their union, SEIU Virginia 512, look forward to further discussions with the Board of Supervisors to ensure that this ordinance is amended to be as inclusive and meaningful as possible.