The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Virginia:
Which Politicians Help Working People?

Feb 17, 2020

The state of Virginia went from a Republican-dominated state to a Democratic-dominated state in the 2018 election. During the campaigning, some Democratic candidates won support from labor unions, saying they would support the right to collective bargaining for Virginia state employees.

Yes, 80 years after workers in struggle won the supposed right to collective bargaining in the 1930s, some workers in Virginia would like to have that right. The ones prevented from having the right to unionize are public sector employees, that is, Virginia’s own state workers.

A bill to gain the right to unionize for state employees was put forward by a Democratic delegate in the Virginia General Assembly in 2019, a bill now withdrawn.

Why? The Virginia Economic Development Partnership said it would be bad for business in Virginia, possibly cost the state between nine million and 25 million dollars per year in lost business. Even ignoring the fact that the economic engine of Virginia is the federal government and its thousands of nearby contractors, the VEDP proposed Virginia would lose out.

How did the VEDP make this decision? They took a poll of some executives and consultants, and three-quarters of them did NOT want Virginia public sector workers to gain the right to unionize.

This is hardly a shock! Many bosses don’t want workers to organize in unions, because they might raise issues like pay and benefits and working conditions.

The withdrawn Virginia bill shows how much working people can depend on the Democrats to defend their rights. Working people can only depend on themselves.