Editor: As a juvenile probation officer who has served our community for 20 years, it means a lot that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors recognizes the valuable role frontline union members play in making our county a great place to live and work.
I am the chair of our union, SEIU Virginia 512 Loudoun, because I believe we need a real voice in the services we provide and our own working conditions. Loudoun County employees do incredibly important work—providing health care and mental health services, caring for young children, maintaining our parks and natural resources, keeping our air and water clean, keeping our libraries running, and much more.
As people who provide these essential services, we need to have a seat at the table when it comes to important decisions affecting our jobs and determining the best ways to keep everyone in our county safe and healthy—a process called collective bargaining. That’s how we can negotiate to improve our jobs and essential services on which our community relies.
We’ve already accomplished a lot as union members—winning raises, expanding access to PPE during the pandemic, establishing a paid sick leave bank, and improving staffing so we can continue doing our best for the communities we serve.
Our union is also the way we can raise our voices together to ensure what we look like or where we live doesn’t determine whether we can live healthy and whole lives. That means speaking out when elected officials like Supervisor Kershner seek to divide us and fail to acknowledge the role of structural racism in the death of George Floyd and countless other Black people across the country.
Through collective bargaining and joining together as union members, I am looking forward to working with the Board of Supervisors to build on these improvements in a way that will protect all workers and ensure all families in Loudoun County can thrive, no matter our backgrounds.
Julius Reynolds, Ashburn