Alexandria City Council Adopts Public Employee Collective Bargaining Ordinance

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Alexandria City Council Adopts Public Employee Collective Bargaining Ordinance

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2021

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 appears to be 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.  

“Alexandrians receive high-quality services from dedicated City employees who have adapted throughout the pandemic to address changing needs of our community,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “By giving City workers their voice through union representation and collective bargaining, the City is ensuring protection, security and stability to employees, factors important to obtaining and retaining members of a quality workforce. This ordinance, developed in close partnership with stakeholders, is an excellent example of how our great city continues to evolve.”

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 to neutrally and effectively administer the requirements established by the ordinance.

“I look forward to working with employee stakeholders in implementing the collective bargaining ordinance and in negotiating fair collective bargaining agreements with our employees,” said City Manager Mark Jinks.

Alexandria’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Ordinance, which was presented by request from City Council, responds to Virginia Code §40.1-57.2 adopted by the General Assembly in 2020. The state law permits counties, cities and towns to adopt local ordinances authorizing them to recognize any labor union or other employee association as a bargaining agent of public officers or employees; and enter into a collective bargaining contract with a union or association regarding matters related to the employees and their employment. The ordinance does not apply to constitutional officers and their employees. 

Visit the City’s Collective Bargaining page for more information. 

For inquiries from the news media only, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3959.

For reasonable disability accommodation, contact dana.wedeles@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5494, Virginia Relay 711.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/121801.

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