Senate District 11 (Charlottesville)
- If elected, will you vote yes on legislation granting all public sector workers, including graduate student workers, in Virginia collective bargaining rights?
- How will you work to ensure that every public employee has full and fair collective bargaining rights?
In addition to repealing the state-level ban, Virginia needs to improve the local option for public sector collective bargaining passed in 2020 that is now in place. That bill allows but does not require local governing bodies to bargain with workers who want to organize, so only workers in communities with supportive governing bodies are eligible to participate. The bill also did not set any guidelines for the scope of bargaining.
- UCW-VA believes all education, including early childhood education (birth-5), is a right and a public good. UCW-VA believes that childcare and early education centers should be publicly funded and run and offer high-quality care and education and good jobs for employees, including living wages, healthcare, and a retirement plan. Will you champion free, universal access to high-quality, public education for all Virginians?
- How will you work to ensure access to free, high-quality early childhood education in publicly-funded, publicly-run centers and fair compensation for early education workers?
Since universal publicly-funded and run child care would require substantial new revenue, progressive tax reform is an important precursor. I will continue to be an active advocate for the tax reform Virginia needs to support expanded programming like this.
- What is your position on setting a minimum wage for public employees in Virginia, and if you support it, what wage level would you propose?
I prefer to empower workers to bargain than write specific statewide compensation terms into state code. That way workers can decide more flexibly what they want the minimum employment standards to be.
- How will you support fair wages, benefits, and retirement security for public employees in Virginia?
By removing barriers to public sector collective bargaining.
- What are your thoughts on the appointment process for governing boards of public institutions of higher education in Virginia, such as Boards of Visitors? Do you believe any changes are necessary?
I’m open to the idea of elected Boards for public institutions of higher education. I’m also open to other models of regulating appointed Boards. For example, if Virginia wanted to maintain Boards appointed by elected officials, we could dramatically alter the composition by specifying the qualifications of Board members — e.g. restrictions on prior political contributions or employment. Bans on prior political activity have helped ensure the professional qualifications of Virginia’s Supreme Court Justices and Special Masters for redistricting, for instance. If Boards of Visitors are anything like courts, it’s not immediately obvious that permitting their direct election will ensure less politicization of these essential bodies.
- Can you provide examples of your past advocacy or actions in support of working people and labor rights?