Loudoun Firefighters File Collective Bargaining Petition

The Loudoun County Career Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 3756, has filed a petition with overwhelming support to begin collective bargaining.

Under state law passed last year, county employees may petition the Board of Supervisors for collective bargaining. The county board isn’t required to then enter a collective bargaining agreement, but a majority on the Loudoun board has pushed for allowing employees to unionize.

The county’s ordinance requires at least 30% of the employees in one of the defined bargaining units—fire-rescue employees, labor and trades employees, or general county employees—to sign a petition to start the process. IAFF President John Myers said their petition was signed by closer to 90% of them.

“I think that the biggest opportunity we have here is really to get the collective voice of the actual employees and see what’s important to them, and get that hopefully built into a contract, and at the same time work together with county leadership and management to make sure it’s a cohesive and a productive process, and not something that’s in any way hostile,” Myers said.

The firefighters union had been putting off submitting its petition as they worked through another employment issue, to do with fire-rescue officers not being given credit for their years of service when the county calculated their relatively recent step and grade pay scales. That issue has been resolved, with officers moving up the pay scale to reflect their years of service. Myers said submitting a petition before that was worked out would have triggered a status-quo period, stopping the work.

“It took a lot of political lobbying and a lot of meetings and such to get that work forward,” he said.

The Loudoun IAFF is one of the largest such organizations in the area, with more than 500 members. The county’s ordinance may in fact expand the roster for the IAFF—traditionally it has included firefighters, but the bargaining unit folds in other employees such as in the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Emergency Communications Center. The IAFF could end up representing them, too.

Previously those employees lacked some of the protections firefighters had even without collective bargaining, such as the right to bring legal representation if their department puts them under investigation.

The IAFF will now put together a collective bargaining committee, which will work to figure out what are the most important issues and priorities to its members. That will inform the negotiating when they meet with the county.

“We want to make sure it’s not just what I want, but what the members want,” he said.

Meanwhile, the petition will be verified by Loudoun’s labor relations administrator, a contracted firm that will then establish a procedure for a secret mail-ballot election to select a collective bargaining representative, or none if a majority of employees vote against organizing. Once a representative is selected—likely the local IAFF—they negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the labor relations administrator, with final approval falling to the Board of Supervisors.

14 thoughts on “Loudoun Firefighters File Collective Bargaining Petition

  • 2022-06-08 at 10:51 am
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    This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Unions are the wave of the future. They’re not to be feared. True, there’s bad in any organization. But for the most part, unions are a positive development for Loudoun. They help improve working conditions & result in a better work product. Happy Best Friend’s Day Loudoun!

    • 2022-06-08 at 6:22 pm
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      The fleecing of Loudoun taxpayers has begun.
      Public employee unions are the biggest source of political corruption.
      Politicians repay unions for political support by rewarding them with lucrative compensation and benefits.
      Democrats win and we all lose.
      Even FDR didn’t support unionization of public employees.
      Thanks Board of Supervisors for screwing taxpayers again.

      • 2022-06-09 at 12:17 pm
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        FDR locked up an entire ethnic group in concentration camps. Maybe examples from ninety years ago aren’t 100% relevant.

        • 2022-06-11 at 9:30 am
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          My point is FDR is a liberal icon who a pioneer and champion of liberal causes.
          He led the country through the Depression and WWII.
          You know that, but are grasping at straws to defend the indefensible.
          He was pro-labor and a strong advocate for unions. BUT, even he saw the foolishness in public employee unions and warned of the inevitable corruption.

        • 2022-06-11 at 8:16 pm
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          90 years past is right about when unions last served an actual purpose.

          Nobody seems to be able to point to any benefits for Loudoun taxpayers, can they?

  • 2022-06-08 at 12:54 pm
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    This will cause some mental dissonance in those who reflexively praise “first responders” but don’t like unions. Good to inject some reality into their world view 🙂

    • 2022-06-09 at 5:26 pm
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      I support first responders and do not like union’s. I have no problem separating the two. I don’t blame the employees for trying to get better wages, I blame the unions for lying to them and the BoS for allowing them in the front door without any concern for the tax payer.

    • 2022-06-11 at 9:35 am
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      It really isn’t hard to respect and appreciate first responders AND recognize public unions as leaches feeding on taxpayers.

  • 2022-06-08 at 12:58 pm
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    “It took a lot of political lobbying…”, he means cash donations. Those that think unions are the wave of the future and not to be feared, I can recall a wave I Japan in the mid-2000’s that left devastation in its wake.

    It is without question the BoS is more protective of their political interest groups and not the tax payers. It’s truly a shame that we’ve brought back things from generations ago like pandemic viruses and unions. We’re certainly heading in the wrong direction.

  • 2022-06-08 at 3:44 pm
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    Tim

    Do you realize that all this union activity is going to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, money that could be spent on raises, improving working conditions or a host of other things. Don’t let the IAFF Members scare you, they work ten days a month and I can assure you they are not overworked unless they are riding a Medic Unit.

  • 2022-06-08 at 5:52 pm
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    Here is the real test Will the union only represent its members or will it force everyone members and non members under their collective bargaining agreement. If they force non members to comply then they don’t actually care about individual employees but only gaining power.

    Of course once unionized bad employees will never be fired for miss deeds, the union won’t let it happen. Case in point it was the union who wouldn’t let Derek Chauvin be fired for multiple problems – he ended up killing george Floyd.

  • 2022-06-09 at 12:04 pm
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    Questions to Phyliss Randal, BoS Chairwoman:
    1. Who will represent the taxpayers in the negotiations?
    2. Who will represent the volunteers?
    3. Will you be willing to put in a restriction that does not allow any Union from contributing to any political individual or organization within the jurisdiction that they are working?

    Depending on your answers I am sure there will be more questions.

  • 2022-06-09 at 2:02 pm
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    It must not be a pay issue. Go to open the books dot com. You can see what each associate is paid. You will be shocked, I was.

  • 2022-06-12 at 9:17 am
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    It’s always a pay issue. Do you think a pro athlete making $5m doesn’t want to make $6m?

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