During the April 17, 2021 Public Hearing, City Council took up and passed Virginia’s first collective bargaining ordinance under a 2020 law allowing localities to authorize collective bargaining for its public employees. Due in great part to the close and harmonious collaboration between IUPA, IAFF and AFSCME representatives and legal counsel, this ordinance grants City employees strong and comprehensive bargaining rights.
The collective bargaining ordinance grants city employees a broad scope of bargaining beyond mere wages and benefits. The scope will cover all terms and conditions of employment except discipline. As to discipline, IUPA is already working with IAFF and AFSCME on revisions to Alexandria Regulation 6-21 to ensure a fair and impartial process to resolve disciplinary and other grievance proceedings.
The ordinance defines the police bargaining unit to grant bargaining rights to all officers/detectives, sergeants and lieutenants. City Council resisted the City staff’s recommendation to break up the police and fire bargaining units by adding “supervisory” bargaining units out of conflict of interest concerns. However, conflict of interest issues are very rare and can be addressed easily if they do occur. Jurisdictions locally and across the nation typically have a single bargaining unit for police and fire without issue.
There is strength in numbers – which is the very point to collective bargaining. It is an exciting time for City employees to gather together to ensure that they are treated fairly. Other localities have been watching the progress here in the City closely, so these efforts will do a great deal to positively impact public safety and other employees throughout the Commonwealth!