10 things Virginia Beach families need to know about collective bargaining
City Council decision on collective bargaining will have a major impact on taxes and public safety.
The Virginia Beach City Council may soon decide whether to allow collective bargaining for some city employees – giving government unions a monopoly on worker representation.
Local officials, public employees and residents have a right to know what collective bargaining really means for their community, tax bills and public safety.
Here’s what they should know before the vote:
- Taxpayers will be on the hook for higher administrative costs without more service, increased wages or better benefits for employees in return.
A collective bargaining ordinance for all county employees would increase costs for attorneys, payroll and more human resources employees. Other local governments in Virginia are also warning of massive new costs just to administer collective bargaining.
This is money will go toward attorneys and bureaucrats to administer the process of collective bargaining – money that could be better spent on giving public employees raises, better equipment and training, or other services that would benefit the families of Virginia Beach
Taxpayer resources should be directed to where they are needed, rather than imposing another layer of bureaucracy.
- Virginia Beach’s neighbors are rejecting collective bargaining
In August 2021, Portsmouth City Council rejected a proposal to allow government union collective bargaining in their city. Citing increased costs, 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.”
Portsmouth Chief Financial Officer Mimi Terry said in a July 27 public work session that costs for the city could add up to “$2 million off the top annually” a figure which likely does not include pay increases or better benefits for city employees.
- It would allow government unions to come between public employees and the county.
Collective bargaining agreements are one-size-fits-all contracts that allow unions to dictate terms for all workers that the contract covers. This includes workers who are not members of the union and do not want to be under a union contract.
There are already government unions in Virginia Beach, but they don’t have a monopoly on representing employees. Allowing these unions to bargain would subject all public employees to one-size-fits-all government union contracts.
- Unions are very engaged in partisan politics.
Unions (both private and government) spent $1.8 billion on politics during the 2020 election. Much of the spending may not represent the values of Virginia Beach or its public employees.
- Collective bargaining is an adversarial process.
By its nature, the process of collective bargaining is combative. It is a process where each side tries to extract as much as it can from the other. By injecting this adversarial process into law, the Virginia Beach City Council will further harm workplace harmony and cause friction between public employees and public employers.
- There are almost no limits to what government unions could bargain over.
The state law that allows Virginia Beach to permit government union collective bargaining puts almost no limits on what unions could bargain over. Ordinances passed or proposed in Northern Virginia have allowed government unions complete negotiating power over wages, benefits and many other issues.
- Collective bargaining could jeopardize public employee privacy.
Ordinances passed or proposed in Northern Virginia have allowed government unions to obtain home addresses, personal cell phone numbers and other non-work contact information of public employees – often without their consent.
- Collective bargaining could trap public employees into paying union dues and into their union.
Ordinances passed or proposed in Northern Virginia grant government unions the ability to trap public employees into paying dues for up to a year if they sign a dues authorization card. At the same time, these ordinances make it much easier to bring a union into a workplace than to remove one once it is established – even if the union is not serving its members well.
- Public employees could be forced to sit though union sales pitches.
Ordinances passed or proposed in Northern Virginia governments require public employees to attend mandatory union orientations – potentially on taxpayer-funded time, depending on the final collective bargaining agreement.
- Virginia Beach taxpayers could be forced to pay for union work.
The county could be required to pay public employees to do union work while receiving their taxpayer-funded salary. Ordinances passed or proposed in Northern Virginia allow unions to bargain over having taxpayers fund union work instead of doing their job.