Press Release

More than 27,500 Fairfax County (Va.) Education Workers Overwhelmingly Win Historic Union Elections

Union Win Is Biggest in US Public Sector in 25 Years; Largest School District in the Country Is Now Able to Organize and Collectively Bargain

For Release:


Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.—Fairfax County Federation of Teachers President David Walrod, AFT President Randi Weingarten and FCFT board member Fran Lewandoski issued statements after Fairfax Education Unions, an alliance between the FCFT and the Fairfax Education Association, won two landmark union elections today, the largest U.S. public sector union victory in 25 years.

More than 27,500 workers in Fairfax County Public Schools—the ninth-largest school district in the country—are now represented by a single entity able to collectively bargain on their behalf. FEU successfully organized two bargaining units comprising educators and support staff. They overwhelmingly won the two one-week votes, announced today, by a combined 9 to 1 margin—with 97 percent voting yes in the instructional unit and 81 percent in the operational unit.

FCFT President David Walrod said: “Today marks the culmination of a 47-year-long fight to win collective bargaining at Fairfax County Public Schools. The reason our campaign was successful was because we all took agency over our own lives.

“Congratulations to FCPS workers. We hope this huge milestone will inspire more wins for our union siblings in Virginia and across the country. This is undoubtedly a historic moment in Fairfax and a monumental step forward for labor.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Never underestimate the will of people to strive for a voice at work, no matter the odds. After years of effort, including the recent assault on our profession by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other extremists, the Fairfax educators and staff voted for their voices to be heard.

“Whether they are bus drivers or teachers, these educators are devoted to their students and their work; they should have had the right to collective bargaining long ago. I have heard them express these aspirations for years, and, today, the struggle and faith paid off.

“Today’s message is clear: Persistence works, and the 1.75 million members of the AFT look forward to supporting Fairfax educators as they build a sustainable future for themselves, the public schools and the students they serve. We will have their backs as they bargain to ensure that every Fairfax public school is a place where parents want to send their kids, educators want to teach, and kids thrive.”

Fran Lewandoski, a social worker at Lemon Road Elementary School and an FCFT board member, said: “More than anything else, this win means that frontline employees of Fairfax County Public Schools now have a real voice at work. We have a voice about fair compensation and fair leave policies. We have a voice about safe working conditions. Our voices have been elevated through this election and through the legally binding contract we will negotiate with FCPS. We are ready.”

The FCFT and the AFT congratulate the FCPS workers and leaders who came together to fight for their collective rights. FEU is eager to sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate a strong contract for both the operational and instructional bargaining units. 

FEA and FCFT members are teachers, counselors, librarians, teaching assistants, clerical employees, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, and other staff who work hard, each and every day, to ensure our schools succeed.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.