Collective Bargaining

The Fairfax County School Board has approved a resolution regarding collective bargaining.

Collective Bargaining Status


collective bargaining stage 1

Collective Bargaining Resolution

In May of 2021, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation that allows School Boards to bargain collectively with employees. FCPS invited certified employee associations to work as a collective bargaining workgroup and draft a Collective Bargaining Resolution.

collective bargaining stage 2

Collective Bargaining Resolution Approval

On March 9, 2023, the School Board approved the drafted Collective Bargaining Resolution, granting employees the right to collectively negotiate terms and conditions of employment as a Bargaining Unit (BU) through an Exclusive Representative. Positions are assigned to one of the BUs: Administrative & Supervisors, Licensed Instructional, and Operations.

collective bargaining stage 3

Organizations Seek Certification

Employee organizations (unions/associations) seeking certification to become Exclusive Representatives must become eligible to be included in an election ballot. They must demonstrate 30% or more employee support. Organizations reach out to employees and the organization contact information is posted on the Hub when they initiate the certification process with FCPS.

collective bargaining stage 4

Certified Organizations Elections

Certified organizations are eligible to go to election. An election will have one or more certified organizations on the ballot as well as “no representation” as a voting option. A majority employee vote determines which organization (if any) will act as the Exclusive Representative of the BU. Employees are informed of an election by the organization(s) campaigning to become Exclusive Representatives.

collective bargaining stage 5

Exclusive Representative Negotiations

The Exclusive Representative that wins the election serves as the voice for all BU members without regard to employees’ organization membership. Employees have the option to join the organization and communicate with the organization to discuss terms and conditions of employment and workplace issues. The organization reaches out to employees to communicate membership details and meeting opportunities.

collective bargaining stage 6

Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Exclusive Representative and FCPS negotiate the terms of conditions of employment in good faith. Once both parties come to consensus on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the draft is presented to the organization’s membership as well as the School Board for approval.

collective bargaining stage 7

Collective Bargaining Agreement Approval

A School Board approved CBA is effective until a new agreement is in place.  The terms of the CBA will apply to all employees in the BU.

As a result of Virginia General Assembly-approved legislation that became effective in May 2021, counties, cities, and towns in Virginia (including School Boards) can now bargain collectively with employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution. 

At their March 9, 2023 meeting, the Fairfax County School Board voted to approve the FCPS Collective Bargaining Resolution.

A draft Collective Bargaining Resolution was presented to the School Board on December 15, 2022, and a School Board work session was held on February 28, 2023. The resolution determines the scope and breadth of collective bargaining for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Collective bargaining is a process by which an employer (such as FCPS) negotiates with a group of employees (a bargaining unit) that is represented by a bargaining agent (such as a union or association) over terms and conditions of employment.

FCPS Certification Process

Employee organizations interested in becoming certified for exclusive representation of any of the bargaining units at Fairfax County Public Schools can contact Lydia Martinez, director, Office of Labor Relations, at [email protected].

Collective Bargaining Work Group

In anticipation of the new law going into effect, FCPS created a collective bargaining workgroup, led by a facilitator/consultant, representatives from FCPS Central Office leadership, as well as Certified Employee Associations, including:

  • Asian Educators Association (AEA).
  • Association of Fairfax Professional Educators (AFPE).
  • Fairfax Alliance of Black School Educators (FABSE).
  • Fairfax Association of Elementary School Principals (FAESP).
  • Fairfax Association of School Social Workers (FASSW).
  • Fairfax County Directors of Student Activities Association (DSAA).
  • Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT).
  • Fairfax Education Association (FEA).
  • Fairfax Pride.
  • Fairfax Speech-Language Pathologists Association (FSLPA).
  • Fairfax Support Professionals Association (FSPA).
  • High School Directors of Student Services Association (HSDSSA).
  • High School Principals Association (HSPA).
  • Hispanic Educators Association.
  • Middle School Directors of Student Services Association (MSDSSA).
  • Middle School Principals Association (MSPA).
  • Support Employees Association (SEA).

Contact information for each of the Certified Employee Associations is available on the Employee Hub (FCPS employees only).

The work group considered options and the best ways to choose the subjects for bargaining that met the interests of all of the different groups represented. Their purpose was to capture the viewpoints of the Certified Employee Associations in a proposed collective bargaining resolution to be presented to the School Board. The School Board had a work session(s) and public hearing(s) on the draft/amended resolution before finalizing the document for a vote on March 9, 2023. 

Collective Bargaining Work Group Meetings

The first meeting of the collective bargaining group was held on September 30, 2021, with meetings scheduled every few weeks through February 2023.


The Virginia Assembly approved legislation that became effective May 1, 2021, that allows locally elected organizations (like the FCPS school board) to enact a resolution to create collective bargaining agreements with employee groups. The FCPS school board voted in February 2020 to initiate the consideration of collective bargaining at FCPS.

The FCPS school board met with representatives of the 17 FCPS Certified Employee Associations (CEP) during the spring of 2021 to determine issues common to all and their interests in participating in the process. The timeline below shows the path to the final vote. 

  • April 22, 2020 - Virginia General Assembly allows school boards to enter into collective bargaining agreements. 
  • Spring 2021 - The FCPS School Board met with representatives of the 17 FCPS Certified Employee Associations (CEP) to determine issues common to all and their interests in participating in the process.
  • May 1, 2021 - School Board invites active representatives of the 17 FCPS Certified Employee Associations to meet with Board-appointed representatives of FCPS. 
  • September 2021 to August 2022 - Work group conducts regular meetings. 
  • November 14, 2022 - Work group reaches consensus on all terms of the drafted resolution and submits for approval.
  • December 15, 2022 - FCPS submits resolution to School Board for review and approval. 
  • February 15, 2023 - Work group reconvenes to reaffirm language of drafted resolution. 


  • Membership/participation in a union/association in a bargaining unit will be entirely voluntary. Employees may choose to join or not join a union/association. 
  • Employees who choose to join a union/association that charges dues (some do not), are charged an amount determined by the union/association and may be subject to change over time. If an employee chooses not to join a union/association, they will not pay dues. 
  • Once an agreement is reached with a union/association (bargaining agent) serving as an exclusive representative for a bargaining unit, all employees in the bargaining unit are covered by the terms of the agreement and represented by the bargaining agent, as the bargaining agent would be bargaining on behalf of all employees in the specific collective bargaining unit they represent.
  • The FCPS Collective Bargaining Resolution is separate and distinct from the Fairfax County Ordinance that was adopted in October 2021.
  • Virginia Code Section 40.1-55 prohibits public employees from engaging in a strike, therefore, FCPS employees will not engage in strikes.

Fiscal and Budget Concerns

  • Collective bargaining agreements approved by the FCPS school board will be legally binding and enforceable contracts. However, the Virginia General Assembly law allowing jurisdictions (like FCPS) to engage in collective bargaining (Section 40.1-57.2B) states, “No ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to subsection A shall include provisions that restrict the governing body’s authority to establish the budget or appropriate funds.” Therefore, the law requires that the bargaining agreements remain subject to fiscal/budget limitations.
  • Under Virginia code Section 40.1-57.2, a collective bargaining agreement cannot override the FCPS school board’s ultimate authority to allocate money and fund financial commitments. The process for collective bargaining agreement approvals will be aligned with FCPS’s budget timeline to meet FCPS’s budget preparation deadlines for consideration along with all of the system’s funding choices and obligations.

Additional Resources

FCPS employees can view additional information on collective bargaining on the FCPS Employee Hub.