Home ‘A new day for Albemarle County’: School board approves resolution for collective bargaining
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‘A new day for Albemarle County’: School board approves resolution for collective bargaining

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Last night, the Albemarle County School Board made history by approving, by a vote of 5 to 2, the right of school employees to collectively bargain.

The Albemarle Education Association (AEA), the union for Albemarle County Public School employees, began campaigning for school employees to have the right to collectively bargain in October 2021. AEA and the ACPS School Board spent the last several months
working together to draft a collective bargaining resolution that will allow ACPS employees to collectively negotiate with the school division for better wages, benefits, and vital improvements to working conditions.

“I am grateful every single day for everything that our teachers do for our students on a daily basis,” Allison Spillman, the At-Large Representative, said, as reported by CBS19 News. “I’m really excited that our board, the AEA, and our teachers could come to this point and that we’re finally here after a lot of hard work.”

In February 2023, a school board subcommittee began meeting to discuss collective bargaining and met with the AEA to draft a collective bargaining resolution. The draft was presented at the school board’s March 28 meeting and approved last night.
“It’s been an honor to be a part of this process,” Dr. Rebecca Berlin, White Hall District Representative, said. “I truly appreciate both sides of the table were able to come together and reach across the aisle and really, truly negotiate to agree on what is best for teachers.”

According to the AEA, the passage of a resolution does not mean Albemarle County school employees will automatically start to bargain.
AEA must petition the school board for an election so that AEA can act as the exclusive representative for all support staff and licensed staff in non-administrative positions. The union will be open to teachers, custodial workers, food service workers, transportation workers, nurses, librarians, paraprofessionals and administrative assistants.

The collective bargaining resolution is a big step in the right direction for labor rights for ACPS employees. AEA looks forward to sitting down at the bargaining table with the school division to make ACPS the best that it can be.

“This resolution represents a new day for Albemarle County. After years of low morale, at times feeling unheard and unvalued, 2,600 ACPS employees will finally have a formal process to get what we need to better serve our students and to thrive as members of this community. Every school, student, and family will be positively impacted by this process, because we truly believe
that when we have strong staff, we have strong schools.” Mary McIntyre, AEA Vice-President, said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.