On Tuesday, March 28, the Falls Church City School Board unanimously passed a resolution to grant public school teachers and staff collective bargaining rights, empowering them to organize and elect a union or association capable of negotiating labor contracts encompassing wages, benefits, and specific working conditions.

In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly authorized local governments to extend collective bargaining rights to public workers. In April 2022, the Falls Church City School Board directed the Board Chair to establish a special school staff and management committee to develop a draft Resolution on Collective Bargaining for the Board’s consideration.  The committee’s work resulted in a 22-page draft Resolution that was presented to the School Board earlier this month.

The Resolution maintains the School Board's right to determine budgets and take necessary actions during emergencies.

Under Virginia law, members of a bargaining unit cannot go on strike. The Resolution provides that negotiations must conclude by December 1st in order for the terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement to be included in the subsequent year's budget.

Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) will recognize two bargaining units: Certified Employees and Non-Certified Employees. Employees within these units can choose an employee association to represent them through a majority vote. Once the School Board recognizes the election results, the selected association becomes the unit's exclusive bargaining representative.  Administrative employees and temporary employees are excluded from bargaining units.

Under the Resolution, once an employee organization seeks certification as the exclusive bargaining representative, a Labor Relations Neutral (LRN) will be selected to oversee the certification and election processes.

“We are pleased with the Collective Bargaining Resolution that was approved,” stated School Board Chair Laura Downs. “I want to thank the Collective Bargaining Resolution Committee members for coming together and working collaboratively. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Ms. Patricia Minson, FCCPS Chief Legal Officer, and School Board member Dr. Susan Dimock for their leadership and expertise, and for the countless hours they devoted to this endeavor,” said Downs.

For those interested in the discussions and updates that led to the vote, a timeline is available at www.fccps.org/collectivebargaining.