We provide the essential services that make our communities strong. But too many of us are underpaid and overworked and are being left behind as our cities and counties become prosperous.
We deserve better wages, benefits and working conditions so that we can take care of our own families. Now public service workers across Virginia are joining together in a union to negotiate for higher pay and a real say in important decisions that impact our jobs.
That’s what it means to be in a union: our employers HAVE to negotiate with us over wages, benefits and working conditions and those wins are secured in a union contract.
SEIU Virginia 512 is the union for people who work for cities and counties across the Commonwealth. By joining together with the thousands of SEIU Virginia 512 members, we can improve our jobs and make our communities even better.
By standing united in our union, we can win the changes we need. Find out how.
Get the facts! Frequently asked questions.
Q) What is collective bargaining?
Collective bargaining is the process by which county and city workers, united in our union, sit down with management to negotiate a binding contract (“collective bargaining agreement”) that covers wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Q) Why do we need the right to bargain a union contract?
County and city employers continue to make decisions that impact workers’ lives without even consulting us workers. Collective bargaining means we will be able to impact decisions and those decisions get locked in in a binding contract.
On May 1, 2021, Virginia made history when the ban on collective bargaining for local government workers ended. Today, Virginia’s county and city workers finally have the opportunity to have the same rights and freedoms that tens of millions of employees in 47 states already have: a real voice on the job through collective bargaining. Take the first step by joining today.
Q) What are some of the new rights that employees will have under the collective bargaining ordinance?
With the collective bargaining ordinance, county and city employees will now have the ability to negotiate a legally binding contract with our employer covering our wages, benefits and working conditions. Our contract will also include a process for resolving disputes. This ordinance means that for the first time we will have a real seat at the table when it comes to important decisions that impact our jobs.
Q) How can collective bargaining improve services for the communities we serve and working conditions for staff?
For county and city workers in Virginia, we can win big improvements and lock in those gains by joining together as a union and using our strength in numbers to negotiate a contract with our employer. That’s the only way we will have a real seat at the table when it comes to important decisions that impact our jobs, our pay, the cost of healthcare, and the security of our pensions.
Collective bargaining can also benefit the public in a number of ways:
- Helps ensure tools, training and adequate staffing we need to provide the services our communities deserve.
- Retain staff and reduce turnover - Along with improvements in compensation, representation for workers improves our voice at work. A number of studies show that these factors lead to improved retention among union-represented workers, avoiding the significant costs associated with employee turnover.
- Safer workplaces - Research suggests that union workers are more likely to report safety issues, injuries and near misses without fear of retribution. Worker advocacy has been life-saving in the current pandemic, as unions have won access to safety measures, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which protect themselves, their families and others.
Q) What is the process and timeline for getting to a collective bargaining agreement/union contract?
- SIGN A UNION SUPPORT CARD and urge our co-workers to join us as a union supporter today. We want to show our employer our strength in numbers, activate our power and win our union contract. Take the first step here.
- PASS AN ORDINANCE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS IN OUR COUNTY/CITY SO WE CAN NEGOTIATE TO IMPROVE OUR JOBS. We want a path to win better pay and benefits in a union contract.
- WIN OUR UNION ELECTION—vote to unionize with SEIU Virginia 512 because together, we can build the power to win a union contract that we can be proud of.
- NEGOTIATE OUR UNION CONTRACT that locks in higher wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions.
Q) What exactly is/can be on the table for collective bargaining?
Our union bargains over wages, benefits, and working conditions. This covers a wide range of issues, such as: pay scales and salaries, health insurance, retirement benefits, workplace health and safety, protections against discrimination and harassment, staffing levels, hiring and promotion practices, job security and discipline, scheduling, and more.
How Does Being in a Union and Having a Union Contract Make a Difference?
By uniting together in our union, SEIU Virginia 512, we can win the changes we need to care for ourselves, our families and our communities. Learn more about the "Union Difference."