The Employee Free Choice Act, which would help to protect workers' rights in the workplace, was introduced in Congress yesterday. Although this is legislation that is being considered by the Federal Government, the battle over big business vs. the worker made it's way to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday. During the "Board Matters" portion of the meeting, Supervisor Pat Herrity tried to slipped a motion in at the last minute that would have called for the board to write a letter to our Congressional Delegation expressing support for Virginia's status as a "Right to Work" state (which hampers workers' ability to form unions) and calling for them to vote against the Employee Free Choice Act.
While putting forward the motion which went down to defeat by a vote of 7 to 2, Herrity made several false claims and put in forward in the wrong forum in a stunt that was intended to make the other supervisors vote on the issue of the Employee Free Choice Act while in front of television cameras. Fortunately, most of the other supervisors were quickly able to see right through Herrity's motives. Several supervisors, for instance, mentioned that one of the primary reasons they were opposing the motion was that they had been dealing with extremely localized issues -- such as where to put street lights -- for most of the morning and Herrity brought the motion up at the wrong time. It should have been dealt with at the legislative committee which had been held the previous workday. In other words, even if they did support the motion Herrity was clearly out of place by making the motion in a secretative manner and in the wrong forum. I tend to believe that if Herrity truly felt strongly enough about the issue, he would have brought it up in the proper forum so that it could have been discussed and the other supervisors could have been more prepared. Instead he decided to pull a political stunt, perhaps in hopes that his fellow supervisors would stumble in front of the camera.
Another reason that the other Supervisors said they opposed the motion at the time was that Herrity's motion claimed that the Board of Supervisors had previously expressed support of Virginia's "Right to Work" status as something that helped it be named best managed state. Many supervisors expressed that they personally disagree with that statement and they most definitely had never supported that as a board. In other words, Sup. Herrity was incorrectly portraying the sentiments of the board when trying to pull off his political stunt.
What this really comes down to is the fact that Pat Herrity appears to be putting partisanship ahead of actual productive use of our local government's time. As I said earlier, it's one thing for a Supervisor to bring up something he/she feels passionate about but might not have much support from other members, but do it in the proper forum and don't use falsehoods in order to promote the cause. If it's something that's actually good for the community, the facts will help move it through the proper process. Since most opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act have been relying upon utter falsehoods to halt the legislation, however, it looks like Herrity is simply embracing partisanship more and more during his time on the County Board. That's a shame because the voters elected him in hopes that he would add another moderate voice to our local government.