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.