For Immediate Release
IAFF Local 2068 Begins Election for Representation, Marking the First Time in over Four Decades that Fairfax County Public Employees will have the Right to Collectively Negotiate a Contract
10/10/2022 - 5 PM - For the first time in over forty years, Fairfax County public employees will be deciding whether they want to have a collective say in the decisions being made that impact the terms and conditions of their employment.
IAFF Local 2068, the union that represents the roughly 1,500 firefighters, fire marshals, apparatus mechanics and medics throughout the Fairfax County Fire Department, launched their Election for Representation earlier this morning. The election is being held electronically through the independent company BallotPoint.
“Collective bargaining gives our members the right to be heard.” said Robert Young, President of IAFF Local 2068. “Our department is filled with intelligent, highly qualified and highly trained people - we’re first responders who love our jobs, love serving the Fairfax community, and want to continue to ensure that we are providing the best fire and medical emergency services possible. Bargaining allows us to do just that, while also ensuring that the concerns of our members and our community are heard and treated equitably.”
The election runs from October 10th to October 31st. If Local 2068 wins, negotiations between the union and the County will begin sometime next spring.
The Election for Representation was made possible by recent political changes in the Commonwealth. In 2020, a bill was passed by both houses of the State Legislature, and then signed into effect by then Governor Northam, which allowed localities throughout the Commonwealth to create local ordinances permitting public sector employees to collectively bargain a contract. Alexandria City was the first to adopt a local collective bargaining ordinance in the spring of 2021, and was followed shortly thereafter by Arlington County.
Fairfax County, the largest locality in the Commonwealth, now joins Arlington County and Alexandria City, as well as Loudoun County and the City of Richmond, both of which passed their respective collective bargaining ordinances earlier this year, in providing these negotiating rights to their employees.
With the Commonwealth permitting localities to determine whether their public sector employees will have the right to collectively bargain, Virginia now leaves North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee as the only states in the country that ban firefighters from participating in bargaining.
“At the end of the day, this is about creating an equitable and collaborative relationship,” said Young.
“It’s about ensuring that all of our employees are heard, that they’re all a part of the decision making process, and that they all have a sense of ownership of their careers and lives. We’re happy to have the overwhelming support of our elected officials, and all the members of the Fairfax community who made this election for representation possible.”
Jeremy McClayton - Organizer, Local 2068