February 1, 2023
At its meeting on Thursday, February 2, the Charlottesville City School Board will announce support for a collective bargaining resolution that would give teachers and other staff a voice in their pay, benefits, and working conditions. The Board will officially vote to adopt the resolution at its March meeting.
This vote will be the culmination of a collaborative process that began in April 2022, when the Charlottesville Education Association (CEA) presented signatures to the Board expressing interest in moving forward with collective bargaining. Since that time, the Board and the CEA have been working together to learn about collective bargaining and negotiate on the resolution.
“We are eager to continue the tradition that exists within Charlottesville City Schools to listen to staff concerns and to meet their needs,” noted Board member Emily Dooley, who was a Board representative working on the process. “Even so, this process guarantees that no matter which Board, no matter which Superintendent, our staff is guaranteed a role in shaping the conditions in which they work, which ultimately impacts our students.”
Under the proposed resolution, the Board and the staff may each select for negotiation up to two topics, for a total of up to 4 negotiating areas. The potential topics are outlined in the resolution, ranging from wages to evaluation procedures.
The Board recognizes two collective bargaining units, or groups of employees, within the resolution to participate in contract negotiations. One is non-administrative employees whose school employment requires a license, such as teachers, school counselors or librarians. The other is school support professionals, which would represent all other employees except administrators.
“This is a historic moment,” stated Board Member Lisa Larson-Torres, who also worked on the negotiations. “Our staff are the backbone of our schools, and we want to amplify their voices, their needs, and their expertise. This resolution signals and affirms that we want to support and retain our outstanding staff.”
CCS is among the first Virginia school divisions to adopt a collective bargaining resolution since the state’s 43-year prohibition on collective bargaining for local government workers was lifted in 2020.
This agreement would have a term of up to three years. The agreement is subject to sufficient appropriation and funding by the Charlottesville City Council. If the Charlottesville City Council fails to appropriate sufficient funds to implement the agreement, either party may reopen negotiations.