Official Time in Right to Work Virginia?


The Center for National Labor Policy has unearthed evidence that Fairfax County, Virginia, is paying union officials to exclusively perform union business on the taxpayers’ dime.

Virginia law specifically prohibits public sector employers from collective bargaining with labor unions:

§ 40.1-57.2. Prohibition against collective bargaining.

No state, county, municipal, or like governmental officer, agent or governing body is vested with or possesses any authority to recognize any labor union or other employee association as a bargaining agent of any public officers or employees, or to collectively bargain or enter into any collective bargaining contract with any such union or association or its agents with respect to any matter relating to them or their employment or service.

Connor D. Wolf has the story in The Daily Caller Online.

Fairfax County, Virginia

Public employees doing taxpayer-funded union work is known as official time on the federal level and release time in the states. With Virginia outlawing collective bargaining agreements for public employees, it’s very unlikely a county like Fairfax would have a release time policy. So much so that County Supervisor Pat Herrity was surprised it did.

“The first thing to do is getting the facts and that’s where I’ll focus my attention,” Herrity told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I want to get to the bottom of this and how we’re tracking it.”

According to the documents provided to TheDCNF, Fairfax County public employees are allowed unlimited release time to help 10 designated public unions with grievance complaints. The grievances are not even required to be filed.

“I believe this merits further investigation,” Herrity added.

Additionally each of the 10 unions are allowed 240 hours in release time annually for lobbying and other political activities. The county documents were first obtained by the Center on National Labor Policy through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Herrity plans to take the issue to the auditor for the board of supervisors. An investigation would likely only take a few months or so. The hope would be to find out the specifics of the policy, how it is being tracked and how much of the county budget is going towards it.