Albemarle School Board votes against collective bargaining resolution
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Albemarle County School Board voted 4-2 against recognition of collective bargaining among employees at its meeting Thursday evening.
An employee group called the Albemarle Education Association had garnered union authorization cards and submitted a request for recognition in March in the hope that Thursday's outcome would be the opposite.
"We are the workers of the county," said Vernon Liechti, the president of the AEA. "The county says they appreciate us; this is a good way to show appreciation."
Had the resolution passed, AEA could have negotiated contracts on behalf of member employees.
The board ultimately said no, citing the need for an office of labor relations, lawyers, and thousands of dollars set aside.
"The first adopters are likely to be embroiled in litigation and other challenges detracting from both our students and any meaningful efforts to support staff needs," said school board member Kate Acuff.
The 2020 General Assembly amended a Virginia code on collective bargaining, which allowed school boards to recognize unions if done so by a resolution or an ordinance.
Some members of the Albemarle County School Board said the amendment is too vague.
"What we've got right now is the opportunity for 132 school divisions to set up 132 different ways to create collective bargaining," said school board member Jonno Alcaro.
ACPS Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas said about 20 percent of ACPS employees have AEA member fees deducted from their salaries.
Following the decision, the school board claimed that it would find alternatives and continue conversations down the road.