Factors inhibiting unionization of the Virginia Governmental Employees Association

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Virginia Tech

The study was an investigation into the motives, policies and practices of the Virginia Governmental Employees Association and the motivations, needs and desires of its membership. This was undertaken to determine the major forces which have prevented change in the operating practices or structure of the association.

The research questions examined factors unique to the VGEA: the climate for public sector unionism in the state, the membership's needs and desires, and the practices and policies set forth by the VGEA. These areas represent the external environment, the perceptions of the membership, and the internal environment of the VGEA. A random sampling of the membership by survey was conducted to investigate the factors. Internal documents of the association were scrutinized in order to determine the factors that were specific to the association.

Both qualitative and quantitative data was incorporated in the analysis. The study utilized empirical research into unions and associations, a descriptive study of the VGEA itself, and an analysis of the membership's responses to the survey instrument.

The analysis concludes by identifying those factors most prevalent in preventing the association from becoming a union. The lack of collective bargaining, the prohibition of striking and right-to-work laws are major factors in the external environment. Internally, the past practices of the association, its reliance upon lobbying and its lack of political action all prevent change from occurring. The membership is not reflective of state employees overall, and the association continues to work only for the needs of its membership.