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Mason-Dixon Poll: Voters Want Employee Protections

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As local governments take steps towards permitting collective bargaining agreements with public employee unions, voters overwhelmingly want to make sure public employees are informed of their rights, their privacy is protected, and that those workers have a periodic say if the union should stay or go. 

Those are among the results of a January Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey commissioned by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy to measure popular attitudes about certain provisions often contained in local Collective Bargaining ordinances that control monopoly union contracts.

A state law passed in 2021 allows these unions to collectively bargain and enter binding contracts with local governments and school districts if the government body approves an ordinance granting them this ability. 

“The support for these ideas protecting public employees is overwhelmingly bipartisan,” said Chris Braunlich, president & CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Institute.  “The public wants the rights, privacies, and freedoms of all employees are protected and local government leaders can help ensure that happens during union organizing activities.”

F. Vincent Vernuccio, Visiting Fellow for the Jefferson Institute warned, “Some politicians in Virginia are working with union leaders to pass laws giving unions the ability to represent all their public employees, whether or not the individual employee wants it or not.  However, both polling and poor turnout in union elections show that instead of talking to union executives these elected officials should be listening to their constituency and individual workers.  The polling is clear, voters want union accountability, informed public employees, and privacy protections.”

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from January 18 through January 21, 2023. A total of 625 registered Virginia voters statewide were interviewed live by telephone.  The margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.  A copy of the poll can be found here.


  • 78 percent of respondents feel that Virginia public employees should be informed of their First Amendment rights to choose to be a member and pay of a union or not. 
  • By more than a two to one margin Virginia voters feel that public employers should be required to get their employees permission before giving personal information such as their home phone, address, and email to a union. 
  • Most voters feel that unions have to gain a minimum percentage of support of all employees they wish to represent before being allowed to bargain on their behalf. 
  • Similarly, 8 in 10 voters feel that public employees should have the right to have a periodic vote to vote to keep the union at their workplace, remove it, or select a new union.

The full poll may be viewed by clicking here.


Chris Braunlich

President & CEO 

(571) 212-0058

F. Vincent Vernuccio

Visiting Fellow

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