At a public hearing on April 17, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to adopt a Public Employee Collective Bargaining Ordinance. The authority for Virginia municipalities to undertake collective bargaining was enabled by new state legislation that takes effect May 1. Alexandria is the first locality in Virginia to authorize collective bargaining under this new state law. Public employee collective bargaining was in place in Alexandria, and in 18 other Virginia localities, until the courts determined in 1977 that state law did not explicitly permit localities to undertake collective bargaining. The new City law allows unions or associations representing City employees to enter into a collective bargaining contract with the City on matters related to the employees and their employment, and provides guidance for the process.
The ordinance was developed with the intent to promote orderly and constructive relationships between the City and its employees and ensure an uninterrupted, efficient government. The City’s goal is to provide services that are responsive to the community; focused on improving quality of life; and delivered by well-qualified staff, who promote policies that achieve diversity, equity and inclusion and achieve organizational excellence through cooperation, ethics, honesty, initiative and learning. The ordinance defines bargaining units as police; fire and emergency medical services; labor and trades; professional; and administrative and technical. A Labor Relations Administrator will be appointed as the neutral to effectively administer the requirements established by the ordinance.
On March 17, 2021, after discussing the Collective Bargaining proposal put forward by the City Manager on February 9, 2021, the City Council made revisions to that proposal and voted to introduce an ordinance setting forth regulations for Collective Bargaining for public employees in the City of Alexandria. The City Council set the ordinance for public hearing and consideration on April 17, 2021. The City Council may adopt changes to the introduced ordinance before final adoption. Staff reviewed this version of the ordinance and provided recommendations for City Council’s consideration that address both potential legal implications of the version of the ordinance introduced by the City Council and also potential areas for City Council to consider.