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FEU is an alliance made up of the two most powerful education unions in Northern VA: the Fairfax Education Association (FEA) and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT). FCPS staff are banding together to exercise their right to negotiate a contract with FCPS for better working conditions and enhanced student learning conditions. This means that there will be one union (FEU) on the ballot when the time comes for FCPS staff to vote YES for collective bargaining. Even if you aren't a member of either union, you can still act. Sign a union authorization card today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is collective bargaining? 

As it stands right now, FCPS can unilaterally make decisions about our schools.  Collective bargaining gives educational staff the ability to sit down with FCPS and have a voice on issues that impact wages, benefits, working conditions and student learning conditions.

First, staff must sign authorization cards, and then vote YES for Fairfax Education Unions (FEU). Second, a bargaining committee of staff across the district will survey and meet with their coworkers to develop a bargaining platform. Then, we will negotiate a legally binding and enforceable contract with FCPS. 

Through collective bargaining, we could win improvements to wages, benefits, and working conditions, changing the balance of power so ALL staff have a stronger voice within FCPS. We can only win if YOU participate.

Didn’t the school board already enact collective bargaining?

Not exactly! The school board passed a resolution in March 2023 that recognized our right to collective bargaining and outlined the rules going forward. This action opened the door, and now we must walk through it. We must determine that we have the support of the majority of eligible FCPS employees for collective bargaining, then call for an election, and finally WIN the election!

Who are the Fairfax Education Unions?

Fairfax Education Unions (FEU) is a partnership between the Fairfax Education Association (FEA) and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT). We have come together to become the exclusive bargaining agent for FCPS employees; more people = more power! More importantly, FEU is us: the staff of FCPS. Those of us who make our school system run; we deserve a say in our pay, benefits and working conditions.

How will this partnership thing work? Do I need to change my membership?

FEA and FCFT are separate organizations who have come together to become the exclusive bargaining agent (i.e., who represents FCPS staff when bargaining a contract) for FCPS employees. In partnership with Fairfax Education Unions (FEU), FCFT and FEA members will have an equal say when it comes to writing and negotiating a contract.

What is the plan to win collective bargaining? 

We have overcome some significant legal hurdles and there are more challenges to come before we win the respect and dignity we deserve.

  1. In 2021, Virginia passed a historic law overturning a ban on public-sector collective bargaining. However, they left it up to each school board in the state to pass their own ordinances determining how the collective bargaining process will work in their division.

  2. After a lot of organizing and educator-driven advocacy, the FCPS School Board passed the FCPS Collective Bargaining Resolution on March 9, 2023.

  3. In June of 2023, FEA and FCFT memorialized the FEU alliance agreement, through multiple layers of governance both locally and nationally, which will put one union on the ballot when we come together to vote for collective bargaining as both operational and instructional staff.

  4. Now it is up to us — the workers of FCPS — to organize and win a union contract for all 26,000 of our colleagues.

  5. Then we will establish a representative bargaining committee of leaders in our worksites. We’ll follow a democratic process to define our core priorities, educate parents and the community, and negotiate FCPS’ first contract since 1977!

What will the personal information on this card be used for? Why do you need my personal information?

The personal information will be used in the verification process, and to send you reminders about voting in the election in the spring. No one outside of FEU will have access to this information. Since this is a legal document, the address is necessary for verification.

How much does it cost? Do I have to pay dues?

Signing the authorization card does not cost anything. You are indicating that you want FEU to negotiate on your behalf, but you are not signing up for either union.

What are the authorization cards for exactly?

The cards are necessary to demonstrate support for collective bargaining and for FEU to be the exclusive representative of the instructional staff and the operational staff when bargaining a contract. We need to get as many people (members and non-members) as possible to sign the cards at each worksite.


Once we hit a critical mass of cards, we get to call for a union election. FCPS will then have 30 days to set up this election - every FCPS worker will be eligible to vote. Think of the process as a political election: the cards are like a petition to get on the ballot, and once we get that critical mass of cards, we get to have the election.

When is the union’s election?

That depends on us and our coworkers. FCPS workers can call for an election after a significant showing of support, but first, we must reach a critical mass of backing for collective bargaining. We must educate each other and build power together so we can win a landslide election and have the mandate to win a first contract that puts our priorities in writing. The sooner we talk to our colleagues and urge them to sign cards, the sooner we can get to an election and WIN.

What are bargaining units?

A bargaining unit is a distinct group of employees who have similar job classification and are represented by a union during collective bargaining. These units are defined under the collective bargaining process and separated by the type and nature of work. Under FCPS’ resolution, the bargaining units are split out into licensed instructional, operational, and administrative units. For example, while principals, educators, and school bus drivers are all types of FCPS employees, each are in a different bargaining unit due to the scope of responsibilities.

Which bargaining unit am I in?

Licensed instructional unit: Anyone who needs a license. This includes teachers, counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, librarians, and speech language pathologists.

Operational unit: Includes instructional assistants, public health assistants, public health training assistants, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, transportation staff, and front office staff.

Administrative and supervisory unit: Anyone who has hiring or firing power. For FEU’s purposes, we will not be representing administrative and supervisors at the bargaining table.

Will FEU represent the Administrative unit?

No. They will seek their own organization. 

What if I had a bad experience with another union?

YOU are the union! FEU is a member-driven organization. Together we are the only force that is advocating for FCPS students and staff to have the power to bargain collectively.

Isn’t Virginia a Right to Work State?

Right to work means that not everyone is required to join a union when they benefit from a collective bargaining agreement at work. We have the real power to organize! For the first time in nearly 50 years, collective bargaining is legal in Fairfax. This means FCPS staff have the power to come to the table and negotiate a strong contract with FCPS. It is going to take all of us standing together to win a strong contract.

Do you want to get involved to win? Do you have any more questions?

Email David Walrod at or Leslie Houston at and they will connect you with an organizer!

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