By Steve Knotts
Did you know that Democrats on the Board of Supervisors are getting ready to authorize collective bargaining with government unions in Fairfax County? It is often said that “all politics is local.” Well, nothing is more local than this. Collective bargaining is now by far the single greatest threat to our county’s future – it would significantly degrade government services over time, even as the costs for those services would soar.
If you doubt that collective bargaining is a raw deal, just look to heavily unionized California or New Jersey as case studies. Both states are now drowning in public debt, notwithstanding exorbitantly high taxes – but are their governments better? Are their roads smoother? Both California and New Jersey are notoriously high cost-of-living states that are saddled with corruption as government unions call the shots.
Until recently, both Democrats and Republicans in Virginia understood that strong government unions are antithetical to economic vitality and good, honest government. Then-Governor Doug Wilder, a Democrat, signed a 1993 law that rightly banned government-sector collective bargaining throughout Virginia.
Following the Virginia Democrats’ takeover of the legislature last year, new legislation gave counties the authority to decide whether to allow government-sector collective bargaining or not. In Fairfax County, elected officials now seem poised to empower union officials, to the detriment of everyone else.
Make no mistake: collective bargaining invariably means a government of the unions, by the unions, and for the unions. The rest of us would be made to suffer – and then be stuck with a hefty bill in the end. Our county board, at least in theory, has a fiduciary responsibility, first and foremost, to county taxpayers. Authorizing collective bargaining would be a gross violation of that responsibility.
With a Democrat majority on the county board, it might feel like the fix is already in – but in reality, it’s not yet too late. A groundswell from concerned residents could still dissuade the Board from hanging this albatross on the necks of county taxpayers – just as residents defeated the hated “meals tax” a few years ago.
It is time for county residents to band together and head off this latest threat. As a first step, concerned citizens should write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same. Contact information for individual county supervisors may be found at fairfaxcounty.gov/boardofsupervisors – let them know where you stand on this proposal that would impact our county for many decades to come.
Steve Knotts is chairman of the Fairfax GOP, the Republican Party of Virginia’s largest political unit. This article was first published in the Fairfax County Times on September 17, 2021.