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Collective Bargaining in ACPS

Alexandria City Public Schools believes that a collaborative approach between its leadership and employees is beneficial, and that a formal partnership can catalyze shared decision making in schools and lead to positive educational outcomes for students. 

What is Collective Bargaining?

Generally speaking, collective bargaining is a process by which an employer negotiates with an employee organization representing a group of employees in a bargaining unit over certain matters identified as appropriate for collective bargaining.  This process may, but is not required to, include wages, certain benefits, and certain terms and conditions of employment, and typically results in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the employees and the employer. 

Stages of Collective Bargaining

  1. Collective Bargaining Resolution:  Prior to engaging in collective bargaining, the School Board must formally authorize collective bargaining within ACPS and adopt a Collective Bargaining Resolution (CBR) which outlines the parameters of collective bargaining with  ACPS.  The public will have an opportunity to review and offer feedback regarding this Resolution prior to a vote by the School Board.

  2. Certification of Exclusive Representative: If a CBR is adopted, then one or more employee organizations may petition  for an election to become the exclusive representative of the  appropriate employee bargaining units for the purposes of collective bargaining with ACPS.

  3. Employee Organization Election:  When one or more  employee organizations  have presented sufficient evidence of interest from the bargaining unit employees, an election will be conducted in which eligible employees may choose which employee organization, if any, will act as the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit employees.

  4. Negotiations:  Once an employee organization is selected as the exclusive representative, it will negotiate with ACPS regarding the matters which are eligible for collective bargaining under the CBR. If the parties reach a consensus, the terms of their agreement will be reflected in a  CBA.

  5. Approval:  The CBA is not effective until approved by the School Board , and is contingent upon the appropriation of sufficient funds by the Alexandria City Council.  The terms and conditions of the CBA will apply to all employees in the  applicable bargaining unit regardless of the employee’s membership status with the exclusive representative’s organization.

History

Prior to 2021, school boards in Virginia were not permitted to engage in binding collective bargaining.  However, effective May 1, 2021, Section 40.1-57.2 of the Code of Virginia was amended to permit school boards, for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, to:

  • Legally recognize and bargain with an employee organization  as the exclusive bargaining agent of ACPSemployees in an applicable bargaining unit; and

  • Collectively bargain and enter into a CBA “with respect to any matter relating to them or their employment or service.”

A school board may voluntarily adopt a CBR or the law permits a majority of employees in a bargaining unit considered by such employees to be appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining to require a school board to vote, within 120 days of receiving a request from a majority of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit, “to take a vote to adopt or not adopt an ordinance or resolution to provide for collective bargaining by such public employees and any other public employees deemed appropriate by the governing body.” 

The law does not require a school board to recognize any bargaining agent or permit collective bargaining at all.  In addition, the law mandates that no CBR may “include provisions that restrict the governing body’s [ACPS] authority to establish the budget or appropriate funds.”

Updates

  • May 28-30, 2024:  Alexandria City Public Schools holds an election to determine whether the Licensed Personnel and Education Support Professionals bargaining units support the Education Association of Alexandria as the exclusive representative of those bargaining units for the purposes of collective bargaining.  Majorities of both bargaining units vote in support of the EAA.  
  • April 11, 2024:  Alexandria City Public Schools receives a request for an election from the Education Association of Alexandria to determine whether the EAA will be the Exclusive Representative of the Licensed Personnel and Education Support Professionals bargaining units within ACPS.
  • March 21, 2024: The Alexandria City School Board unanimously adopts the School Board Resolution for Collective Bargaining in Alexandria City Public Schools.
  • March 14, 2024: The School Board held a work session to review and make proposed changes to the draft Collective Bargaining Resolution.
  • March 7, 2024: The Board held a work session with representatives from the Education Association of Alexandria regarding the draft collective bargaining resolution.
  • February 29, 2024: A public hearing was held to receive feedback on the draft Collective Bargaining Resolution.
  • February 22, 2024: During this meeting the Board introduced a draft Collective Bargaining Resolution as an information item and reviewed publicly with legal counsel.
  • February 13, 2024:  This is the 120-day deadline for the School Board to vote on whether to permit collective bargaining within ACPS. This vote would not constitute a CBA – that agreement would be negotiated if and after the Board decides to authorize  collective bargaining for appropriate employee bargaining units.
  • February 8, 2024: The School Board adopted a Resolution of the Alexandria City School Board Establishing Collective Bargaining Between the School Board and Certain School Board Employees and requiring the School Board to adopt a collective bargaining resolution within 60 days after adoption of the authorization resolution.
  • January 25, 2024:  The Collective Bargaining Committee held a public meeting to discuss a proposed Resolution for ACPS.
  • November 2023–January 2024:  The Collective Bargaining Committee meets with outside counsel to discuss legal aspects regarding collective bargaining within ACPS.
  • October 17, 2023:  The Board convenes a Collective Bargaining Committee for the purpose of drafting a Resolution for the consideration of the full School Board.
  • October 16, 2023:  The School Board received a request from the Education Association of Alexandria certifying  that a majority of licensed personnel within ACPS have expressed support for collective bargaining by such  ACPS employees, thus triggering the 120-day timeline under Va. Code Section 40.1-57.2.
  • May 25, 2023:  The School Board participates in a training session with outside counsel regarding the collective bargaining process.
  • December 2, 2021:  ACPS adopts a Resolution to “begin the process of researching and collecting the necessary information, including budgetary and staffing implications, with the desire and intention to in the future, adopt a collective bargaining resolution consistent with Va. Code § 40.1-57.2, and to successfully enter into a collective bargaining agreement or agreements with such bargaining unit or units as may hereafter be formed by employees of Alexandria City Public Schools.”