Teachers in Virginia may soon gain the right to collectively bargain with the public school systems that employ them — signaling a historic shift for the state and a major victory for labor advocates nationwide.
Legislation backed by Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly would end a long-standing state law that forbids public employee unions from negotiating on salary and benefits. Virginia’s ban, adopted in the 1990s, makes it one of just three states to bar public-sector bargaining, alongside North Carolina and South Carolina.
The measure passed the House of Delegates along party lines and is before the Senate. If it becomes law — even opponents concede that appears likely — it would affect thousands of workers across Virginia, according to Del. Elizabeth R. Guzman (D-Prince William), who introduced the legislation in the House. Guzman said that in addition to educators, firefighters and police officers are among the workers who would gain bargaining rights.
“My bill would give teachers a seat at the table and a voice on the job,” she said.
The legislation would have national resonance, said Joseph E. Slater, a University of Toledo professor who specializes in labor and employment law. He said Virginia has for decades served as “America’s poster child, along with the two Carolinas,” for hostility to public-sector labor rights.
“There is supremely important symbolic weight here,” he said. The bill “would lift the spirits of labor in the United States.”
That is of course LGM commenter Joseph Slater making these solid points here.
On the other hands, you can’t expect too much of Dems…..