Youngkin Signs Executive Order Focused on Teacher Shortage, Launches Pilot Program Centered Around Student Learning Loss

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed his third executive directive as part of an announcement of his administration’s efforts to address teacher shortages; at the same event in Stafford County, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera announced the Bridging the Gap Initiative, aimed at addressing learning losses.

“So when we have a shortage of teachers and we’re trying to bridge the gap, we’ve got to work extra hard in order to close the gap of teachers as well,” Youngkin said, emphasizing the importance of in-person learning within the context of learning losses.

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Connecticut State Employee Contracts Ratified

By a 22-13 vote, Connecticut’s state Senate on Friday ratified contracts with state workers estimated to cost taxpayers roughly $1.9 billion.

The Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives approved the agreements with the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) 96-52 the prior day. All House Democrats and only one House Republican, Thomas Delnicki (R-South Windsor), voted for the deals. The Senate vote came down along party lines.

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Nearly 3,000 State Workers in Connecticut Had Salaries Exceeding the Governor’s in 2021

A review of Connecticut’s salary records published by the center-right Yankee Institute (YI) Thursday indicated that 2,927 state employees received higher salaries than the governor in 2021.

State statute confers a $150,000 yearly salary on Gov. Ned Lamont (D). Approximately 2,000 state employees earned higher pay than him through 2017. Over the next three years, that number rose by nearly 1,000.

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Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Ends State Sen. Obenshain’s Efforts to Reverse Collective Bargaining Law in Virginia

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed two bills from Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) aiming rollbacks at Virginia’s collective bargaining laws. SB 374 would have removed locality authority to enter into collective bargaining agreements with public employees, and would have removed locality authority to require contracts to be performed at prevailing wage.

“The effect of these legislative changes that I’m seeking to undo is that, really, we’ve thrown open the doors for large out-of-state union contractors to come in and take jobs and opportunities away from Virginia contractors, Virginia employees. It deprives us of the benefit of our right to work status,” Obenshain said to the committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “This is a pro-jobs, pro-Virginia, pro-individual liberty, pro-Virginian piece of legislation.”

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Virginia Police Benevolent Association Wants to Ban Ticket Quotas

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association is drafting legislation to ban ticket quotas in all law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth.

“This legislation comes from my state police chapter,” VPBA Executive Director Sean McGowan said. “We have a state police chapter that has 800 troopers that are members. This is their concern, this is not something that Sean McGowan or the committee came up with. This is directly from our members.”

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Portsmouth City Council Votes Against Collective Bargaining

The Portsmouth City Council voted 5-2 against allowing collective bargaining for city employees. In a Tuesday Council meeting, some members said that although they would like to support unionizing efforts, the high cost of implementing collective bargaining didn’t make sense.

“It was something we had all hoped would be good for the city last year when the city council passed a resolution to move forward,” Council Member Lisa Lucas-Burke said. “After hearing the information from our CFO regarding the financial cost that would be associated, I think that until we get more information and more funding to be able to carry this out it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to carry that through. My heart was there to get collective bargaining for our unions, for the departments that were interested in it, but with the information that was since provided we have to respond to that in that manner.”

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Firefighters Association Asks Charlottesville for Collective Bargaining Ordinance

Charlottesville firefighters are seeking formal recognition as a union from the City of Charlottesville under new authority granted by a 2020 law that allows localities to form collective bargaining agreements.

According to The Daily Progress, Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association President Greg Wright wrote in an email to the City Council, “I humbly ask that you, and all the members of Council support this Amendment. Empowering ALL City employees to participate in traditional collective bargaining is something that I hope you consider as important as we do.”

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Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Opts to Draft Collective Bargaining Ordinance

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted six to three to draft a collective bargaining ordinance enabling labor unions to represent county staff in negotiations with the county. County staff proposed drafting the ordinance, noting that a new law going into effect in May enables employee organizations to petition the county for formal union status. However, the law allows localities to decide for themselves whether they will recognize those organizations. As May approaches, other localities in Virginia are considering similar action; Alexandria has already adopted an ordinance allowing collective bargaining. 

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Alexandria Collective Bargaining Proposal Would Not Allow Employees to Challenge Vote Determination

The City of Alexandria in Virginia is considering an ordinance to provide collective rights to workers, but the current proposal would not allow employees or the city government to challenge the determination of certain votes.

As it is currently written, the proposal would allow a labor relations administrator to determine the results of a majority vote in the following areas: a petition for certification without an election, certification by representation election and decertification. No person, whether it be employees or the government, would have the right to challenge this determination.

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Study Shows Collective Bargaining, Now Reinstated in Virginia, Shields Police Officers from Discipline

A recent study of collectively bargained deals negotiated by police unions nationwide found these deals often scale back accountability and shield police from disciplinary action.

Before this year, public-sector collective bargaining was banned in Virginia. But after Democrats won control of the House and Senate, party leaders were able to pass legislation to end that prohibition, and Gov. Ralph Northam signed it into law. The law will go into effect in May 2021.

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