The fight for fair collective bargaining rights in Prince William County is getting heated, as labor organizers claim that the current draft ordinance being considered by the county board is full of holes and gives management all the power. Union leaders have proposed clearer language to include part-time employees in collective bargaining units and more authority for a neutral labor relations administrator to handle arbitration and investigate unfair labor practices.
But the county administration, aided by an outside employment consultant, seems determined to limit collective bargaining to just wages and benefits, a watered-down version of similar laws already approved by other Northern Virginia localities. This has led to accusations that county staff is excluding labor unions from the entire process and doing everything "behind closed doors" without any input from unions.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the county simply shrugged and said, "I mean, what can we do? We're just trying to keep up with the Joneses. Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria - they all have their fancy collective bargaining laws. We can't be the only ones left out in the cold."
A hearing on the collective bargaining ordinance is scheduled for November 22, but it remains to be seen whether the county board will follow the lead of the Prince William County School Board, which adopted its own collective bargaining plan last month. As it stands, the battle in Prince William, which could potentially affect around 4,000 county employees, looks set to be the most intense labor versus management dispute in the state.