Fairfax Co. teachers vote overwhelmingly for collective bargaining rights

In an overwhelming vote, teachers in Virginia’s largest school have decided to unionize and collectively bargain for contracts and salaries. It will be the first time in 50 years teachers in Fairfax County can bargain.

The Fairfax Education Unions (FEU), an alliance between the Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, will represent the nearly 27,000 public school employees. Teachers who voted were over 96% in favor of the new agreement, operational staff showed around 80% support.

“For close to 50 years, Fairfax County Public School employees have struggled to have a stronger voice in the workplace. Now, those desires have become a reality,” Fairfax Education Association President Leslie Houston said in a statement.

“This win will be transformative for both instructional and operational employees. Our efforts will focus on securing fair compensation and living wages for all.”

In 2020, Virginia’s General Assembly gave local governing bodies the option for collective bargaining for public employees.

In 2023, Fairfax County’s school board unanimously voted to allow teachers to have collective bargaining rights.

The Fairfax Education Unions filed for a union election on May 1 and held voting from June 3 to 10.

“Having a voice — having the ability to collectively bargain for our working conditions — will be very empowering for teachers and staff. We’re the ones actually in classrooms. We know what we need to actually improve things,” said Fairfax special education teacher Molly Cronin in a statement.

In response to Monday’s results, Fairfax County School Board Chair Karl Frisch released the following statement:

This is a historic and exciting day for Fairfax County. Collective bargaining will help staff retention and student success. After all, teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. Everyone wins when educators and other school staff have a seat at the decision-making table — pay increases, working conditions improve, and turnover becomes less common.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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