Letter: Crissy Helinski, Purcellville

Editor: As a 26-year employment specialist for Loudoun, I’m so proud of the work we do as county employees to keep our county safe and healthy. In my job, I work with the local business community to help Loudoun citizens who have a variety of disabilities find, learn, and keep competitive jobs in our county. It’s incredibly gratifying work that improves the quality of life in Loudoun, stimulates the local economy and empowers people to become more self-reliant. 

Last week, I testified on behalf of my union, SEIU Virginia 512, at the recent public budget hearing to talk about the importance of investing in quality public services like these and in the workforce dedicated to making our county a great place to live and work. I called on the Board of Supervisors to do three things: fund merit raises so we can take care of our own families, ensure safe staffing levels so we can do our best for our fellow residents, and pass collective bargaining for county employees so we can have a real seat at the table when it comes to important decisions that impact our jobs and the services we provide.

As a proud member of our union, SEIU Virginia 512, I told the Board of Supervisors that collective bargaining will give county employees a voice so we can more effectively partner with board members to deliver great services and ensure good jobs. 

It’s no wonder that 68% of Virginians support public employees forming unions and bargaining collectively, according to a non-partisan Christopher Newport University poll. Collective bargaining will broaden the experience of many in the workforce to really participate in and understand the process of shaping a diverse and talented workforce who are invested in the work and committed to the community. 

As the county holds additional work sessions to finalize the 2022 budget, the tireless and essential work of Loudoun employees must be recognized. The time has come to ensure all county employees have a seat at the table to chart our future. That’s what collective bargaining is all about. 

Crissy Helinski, Purcellville

The writer is an employment specialist for Loudoun County and a founding member of SEIU Virginia 512.

9 thoughts on “Letter: Crissy Helinski, Purcellville

  • 2021-03-04 at 10:05 am

    Please provide three (3) tangible, quantifiable benefits that the residents and taxpayers of Loudoun will receive as a result of public employees unionizing.

    This should be a VERY simple request.

    • 2021-03-08 at 9:45 am

      Well, since there were no takers on my request for three (3) tangible, quantifiable benefits that the people of Loudoun will enjoy, how about we go for TWO? What are two (2) benefits that a public union will bring to the people of Loudoun?

      If public unions are such a great idea (!!!), then this should be a no-brainer.

  • 2021-03-04 at 3:19 pm

    Right on cue, we get a glowing letter about SEIU and representation in Loudoun.

    An honest discussion should include well documented corruption within SEIU. This is not to suggest that all union members are crooks.

    An honest discussion should include the benefits to TAXPAYERS of Loudoun County. I would suggest there is no benefit, but maybe the letter writer can respond with something.

    A structure has existed for many, many years to address employee concerns. It has been very successful and does not need to be replaced with collective bargaining.

    The BOS does not need to introduce a cancer into this county, but I think we all know where this is going.

    Democrats are notorious for bringing union representation into cities all over the country and decades later, these same cities continue to remain insolvent and non responsive to the citizens they are suppose to represent.

  • 2021-03-04 at 4:59 pm

    There are no tangible benefits for the employees or the taxpayer, from this proposed Union Representation being ram-rodded down the throats of the employees. Unless you consider it from the perspective of the LARGE trough feeding HOGS that want to destroy this country and government. I recall the unions efforts about 14 years ago, they staged some pretty young ladies in short dresses in the parking lots and some spiffy handsome men too, to lure unsuspecting employees into conversations and support. A beauty was assigned to lasso me, and I did not believe her sweet words to attempt to lure me into the lair. For I have seen what unions do to great jobs, and I was not buying it what she was selling. You should have seen how fast that alluring smile, sweetness, and beauty in my midst disappeared… And that is just how the honeymoon will end for the employees and taxpayers, after the union gets their LARGE foot in the door and starts requiring LARGE fees/wages for the new union representatives and leaders. Remember that you must pay them to represent you!

    I just relocated to Northern Virginia back then after the coal industry was shut down by liberal government policies and 40 years of the unions rising (They were small hogs once). Companies with Union representation were laid off many years before, and the few non-union mines collapsed too. Unions had there place many years ago, when the corporate titans needed to be reined in for all the neglect and death they allowed in their mines/companies. Nobody is in this neglected position now, in this local government or era.

    Unions are not needed here anyway; for we have what we call the Employee Advisory Committee. This committee gives employees an opportunity to rotate thru a real committee with a voice and power, and attempt to change the system. They just had a monthly meeting with the County Administrator, Tim Hemstreet and the Human Resources director; where they made presentations to and took questions from the committee. I got the minutes of the meeting and just read them this morning… I even made some notes that I will be talking to our department’s representative about what that I recommend for a few issues. I can even go to the meeting and ask questions; demand change; or be bold as I want to be, without fear of reprisal… Get the union in here and “fear of reprisal” will take on a whole new meaning for the uneducated and unexperienced.

    Unions like to shout out “Solidarity” as their battle cry. But Solidarity for what?

    …better work conditions? We have the best now! I have never worked in such an functional and safe place. Although I have been to Fairfax and Arlington County, and from that experience I know that we are near the top of the heap, in the entire world…

    …representation in negotiations for wages. Just look around at the county governments that are unionized like Montgomery County; and you will realize that we have it very good. Loudoun is very competitive for similar jobs, and you have more control of your destiny. Give that control to the Union Fat Cats and you will find out the hard way, how to destroy a great work environment.

    …for grievances! You do not know how good you have it. I have taken grievances to my current boss, his boss and all the way to the Department Director; and they patiently listened, made some adjustments, and kept me employed. And if I do not like the outcome, I can always take the matter into my own hands, and go find another job or employer that listens and meets my needs… I am in charge of me and my future…

    Remember that the taxpayer is the one flipping the bill here; and they have their limit. What is worse, that limit was exceeded years ago. Then consider the fact that our federal government is printing money like it does not matter, which means Inflation is on the rise. And hyperinflation will be destroying our retirement savings soon. Have you even seen the union retirement check for all those fees the members contributed…? They are meager and shameful… Mainly because the Fat Cats spend your contributions on their salaries, retirement, and expenses like the annual Union celebrations, advertising, training events on pacific islands, etc. And this is how they became Fat Cats and Trough Feeding Hogs…

    And if you want to change the world or just our government, get on the EAC committee and show us how you care for me and others… Do not believe the lies that someone will save you from yourself…

    Get involved and make some changes yourself. Nobody cares about your well-being, like you do…
    Do not give a chunk of your pay to some disconnected and liberal Union Representative! They will not only eat your lunch; but they will pop the bag in your face too…

    Finally, may this government and the generous taxpayers in Loudoun County, be blessed with a Non-Union future…

    • 2021-03-06 at 9:21 am

      Thank you for your insight. I have had two brief stints in unions, neither public, and found them to be an archaic artifact of a time long gone (thankfully).

  • 2021-03-05 at 5:52 pm

    Unions really have to catch up to modern times to remain relevant. Otherwise someone will figure out how to get teachers from China too.

  • 2021-03-05 at 6:12 pm

    Well stated Gerard.

    I hope your post is entered into the record when our esteemed BOS discuss this.

    Loudoun taxpayers will PAY for collective bargaining. We have a great system in place which negates any need for union representation.

    Do not allow this cancer into Loudoun.

  • 2021-03-08 at 1:54 pm

    I have 25+ years of experience as a labor attorney, my first 2 were representing unions. There are certain industries where unions serve a purpose and there are certain employers that deserve to have unions. Government agencies fit neither category.

    I hear claims of corruption and disregard such claims because (1) it is a given and known fact and (2) the employees vote for the union anyway. It is the employees’ money the union is stealing either by embezzlement or simple wasteful spending.

    I hear claims of inflated wages. That falls on the administration for agreeing to such wages. Collective bargaining only carries a requirement to bargaining in good faith, it does not require agreeing to the unions demands. This is particularly true in government where budgets and spending are public records.

    I hear of job security, well if you do your job properly you will have job security. However, before a government agency takes negative action against an individual they must afford them due process. This is also true in the employment relationship.

    • 2021-03-09 at 10:14 am

      “ Collective bargaining only carries a requirement to bargaining in good faith, it does not require agreeing to the unions demands.” Unfortunately the unions provide considerable funding for elections to pro-union candidates, which tips the scales in the unions’ favor in order to keep palms greased. The unions have too much power on a local and national basis due entirely to their investments in elections. This is the part you didn’t mention.

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