Loudoun County Fire Fighters Win Right to Collectively Bargain

December 17 • 2021

Loudoun Career, VA Local 3756 members and other Loudoun County employees now have the right to collectively bargain. The majority of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of an ordinance granting those rights on December 7.

“I am very proud of our Loudoun brothers and sisters for their hard work on this issue,” says 4th District Vice President Andrew Pantelis. “They stayed focused and made sure the ordinance contained solid collective bargaining language. Now our Loudoun County members will be able to take their rightful seat at the table to bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions.”

Collective bargaining had been banned in the state of Virginia since 1977 after the state Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional. The Virginia Professional Fire Fighters (VPFF) and its affiliates pushed for years to bring it back.

Legislation that became effective May 2021 gives local governments the option to create ordinances recognizing their employees’ labor unions and allowing collective bargaining for public workers.

Setting the stage for this victory, Loudoun Local 3756 members became politically active two campaign cycles ago and helped elect several new labor-friendly candidates to the County Board of Supervisors.

“Having friends on the board enabled us to take an active role in drafting this ordinance,” says Local 3756 President John Myers. “We were able to include language that will ensure all future collective bargaining agreements will be negotiated fairly. We look forward to sitting down with management to discuss the provisions of our first contract.”

In fact, the newly enacted ordinance includes language for binding arbitration and allows Loudoun Local 3756 members to use municipalities from across the Metropolitan DC area as wage comparables, including the District of Columbia and Maryland counties of Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Frederick County.

The ordinance is effective immediately and Local 3756 leaders anticipate negotiating the first contract in about 18 months after outstanding labor-management issues are resolved.