Loudoun School Division Demanding Union Member Info Before Collective Bargaining

Loudoun Education Association is poised to begin collective bargaining, but negotiations are at a standstill as the school division is asking for confidential membership information, LEA President Sandy Sullivan said.

LEA submitted a letter to the School Board on Oct. 19 stating that the association obtained the necessary membership to begin collective bargaining in the form of authorization cards signed by educators. The letter also asks the School Board to adopt its resolution to authorize collective bargaining.

Sullivan said that members’ primary concern was privacy.

“The concern is ‘will my boss know? Who would know this information?’” Sullivan said. “We’ve been clear with all the employees we’ve talked to that their information is confidential.”

But the school division, it seems, is unwilling to move forward with the process if that promise is kept.

“It is LCPS’ understanding that to constitute certification that a majority of public employees of LCPS in a unit considered by such employees to be appropriate for public bargaining LCPS needs attestation to the accuracy of information submitted,” school division spokesman Wayde Byard said in an email. Byard said that the information on the cards would be confidential. Still, it’s unclear who in the division’s administration would be handling the cards.

LEA’s solution is to task a third party with certifying the membership, although Sullivan said the school division won’t acquiesce.

“We agree that if the school system wants the membership verified, that’s reasonable. But it is our duty to protect the information of the employees who signed those cards,” she said. “We’re in a place where they don’t want a third party, they want the cards.”

As negotiations sit stagnant, educators are facing challenging staffing conditions during the surge of the Omicron variant. School staff are stretched thin, and central office staff are being sent to work in schools to cover classrooms and duties. Sullivan said that the surge of COVID-19 cases is exacerbating existing staffing issues, including for substitutes and bus drivers. 

Legislation in 2021 allowed public employees in Virginia to engage in collective bargaining with their employers. To represent a workforce, a union must prove support from a majority of employees in a defined bargaining unit.

5 thoughts on “Loudoun School Division Demanding Union Member Info Before Collective Bargaining

  • 2022-01-14 at 12:11 pm

    I can’t fault LCPS for wanting to see direct evidence that a sufficient number of workers have agreed to be unionized. But I also sympathize with the privacy concerns expressed by Sandy Sullivan. Perhaps an independent mediator can step in to help resolve the conflict. I hope so. Loudoun needs all hands on deck to ensure a quality education for 81,000+ students. Especially in the midst of a health crisis. Happy MLK Day Loudoun!

  • 2022-01-14 at 12:49 pm

    The union needs more than 50% support of the subject employees in order to represent all of the employees. While member information is confidential it does not exclude the union from proving it represents 50%+1. The partied could solicit an arbitrator who will get a list of valid employees from the Division and a copy of the signed cards from the union. The arbitrator can at that point confirm or deny that the union has the necessary support.

  • 2022-01-14 at 8:26 pm

    Here we go Loudoun. It won’t be long before LCPS are as bad as Chicago because of a union.

  • 2022-01-15 at 12:53 am

    Well, isn’t this interesting. The union doesn’t want to reveal who signed cards because the school management might pressure employees. But the UNION knows who signed the cards, allowing them to pressure employees to sign the cards!!! More liberal hypocrisy and anti-American, anti-freedom corruption that will do nothing to improve education, but WILL cost taxpayers lots of money.

  • 2022-01-17 at 12:08 pm

    It’s as if the (D)’s who run the LCPS invited a cancer into the school system and are now surprised there are symptoms of severe illness.

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