Virginia Teachers Union Leader “Feeling Good” about Historic Victory in 27,000 Teacher Election in Fairfax County

Fairfax Education Unions rally for a union in Fairfax County (Fairfax Education Uniions)


Greetings from the Burgh, where I am getting off a pre-planned birthday vacation and flying on Delta to cover the historic teachers’ union election in Virginia.

Payday Podcast with African-American head of a Fairfax County Education Association 

Check out our new podcast on Spotify with the African-American president of the Virginia Education Association, Leslie Holt. 

She’s a former journalist and a special education teacher who started teaching when her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum issues. Listen to her and subscribe to Payday’s podcast on Spotify. 

Donate to Help Cover Historic 27,000 Teacher & Staff Virginia Union Election

Payday is flying down tomorrow to cover how this union election could inspire more elections throughout the South and have significant implications for the presidential election. 

Donate to help us tell this historic tale. Please sign up as one of our  775 recurring donors today. 

Union Leaders Expect Positive Results in Virginia 

The results of the historic Virginia union election involving 27,000 teachers, one of the most prominent teachers’ union elections in the South in decades, are expected to be announced around 10:15 a.m. 

Fairfax County, the 9th largest school district in the nation, holds a significant sway in Virginia’s political landscape. Its strong Democratic leanings have played a pivotal role in turning Virginia into a blue state. 

It’s likely to generate a lot of positive momentum. Multiple union officials in the teachers’ union and labor movement are optimistic about tomorrow’s result. No vote count total was presented to Payday to confirm it, but officials who are respected and trusted in the community have told Payday they feel optimistic. 

“Apparently, cards were being signed at a furious rate, and they said it was the easiest organizing many of the staff have done,” one veteran NEA staffer told Payday Report. 

Virginia Education United, a collaborative effort of AFT and NEA locals, is leading a joint effort to unionize 27,000 teachers and support staff into two sister locals. 

Officials from both unions also seemed optimistic on the record with the Payday Report. Fairfax County’s school system has run no anti-union campaign, dramatically increasing the odds of a win. 

“I’ll feel a lot better once the results have gone through. Hopefully I’ll even be able to sleep again,” Virginia Education Federation Association member Dave Walrod told Payday Report. 

The union coalition is jointly organizing two bargaining units of teachers into one unit and school support staff into another for 27,000 members. 

Fairfax County Education Association President Leslie Houston also seemed optimistic in an interview with Payday Report. The county, which is heavily Democratic, did not run an anti-union campaign. 

She says that after the pandemic, many Fairfax County workers are tired of working in the public school system in Fairfax County and cannot afford to work there. 

“it is my hope that the reason that the politics of the state is changing is because people are realizing there’s a writing there’s a wrong,” says Leslie Houston.

Listen to our full interview on Spotify with Fairfax County Education President Leslie Houston. 

We are working on a big story and will have more in the morning around 10. Im going to sleep for 3-4 hours, and then I get back to writing. Email us ideas [email protected] 

Donate to help us tell this crucial election story. Please, sign up as one of our 774 recurring donors today. 

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]