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UCW-CWA Fights for Public Sector Collective Bargaining in Virginia

Virginia is a “right-to-work” (for less) state with a long history of anti-worker legislation. The statute banning collective bargaining has been in place since 1947, a reaction to Black nurses, janitors, and orderlies at University of Virginia Hospital forming a union in 1946. Now, a new Democratic legislative majority is moving to restore collective bargaining rights in a state where, according to a Christopher Newport University poll, 68 percent of Virginians strongly support allowing public sector employees to form a union and bargain collectively.

Jenna Gabriel, a member of United Campus Workers of Virginia-CWA (UCW-CWA Local 2265) and former UCW-CWA chair at Virginia Commonwealth University, spoke about the tremendous impact such legislation would have on her and her university colleagues.

“Collective bargaining would be life-changing for my co-workers,” Gabriel said. “Having a voice on the job would allow us to negotiate for the issues we care about. Less tenuous contracts, safe spaces to live and work, class sizes that allow us to support our students, paid time off to care for our families, health insurance, child care, fair wages—the list goes on.”