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ArlingtonOpinionCommentary: Lopez is serving working Virginians well

Commentary: Lopez is serving working Virginians well

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by DON SLAIMAN, GREG AKERMAN and BRIAN HESS, for the Sun Gazette

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) has an incredibly strong record delivering results for working families.

Throughout his time as delegate, he has shepherded through more than 150 bills as either the patron, co-patron or chief co-patron, including many landmark pieces of legislation.

The commonwealth’s working families have been some of the greatest beneficiaries of the hard work of Del. Lopez.


Coming into the 2020 legislative session, Virginia was ranked 51st for workers’ rights by Oxfam. Since then, Del Lopez has helped Virginia’s working families win a state prevailing-wage law, a minimum-wage increase, collective-bargaining rights for public employees of local governmentsand more. He has proven to be a leader in the General Assembly on issues important to working families time and again.

Working with the labor community, Lopez overturned Virginia’s ban on project-labor agreements for public projects in the commonwealth, giving unions the ability to negotiate on behalf of workers. He helped lead the fight to finally raise the minimum wage in Virginia to $15 an hour by 2026, after decades of inaction. He whipped votes to prevent wage theft and worker misclassification, and to protect employees from employer retaliation.

He helped secure votes to give teachers throughout the commonwealth a 5-percent pay increase to keep our public schools competitive with neighboring states. He successfully worked with SEIU 32BJ to organize legislators in Northern Virginia to have the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority increase the minimum wage for contract employees at our local airports.

Lopez doesn’t just talk about being a champion for working families – he delivers countless results for them, and every year Virginia’s working families are better off for it.

That is why Del. Lopez is the leader Northern Virginia organized labor trusts to carry Virginia forward on the repeal of right-to-work in the commonwealth. He cares about delivering for working people by repealing the anti-worker so-called “right to work” law that makes it harder for workers to band together collectively. Lopez has a record of setting a plan, getting the votes and delivering.

Despite the great strides made for working families in the legislature, work remains to be done. Del. Lopez believes we must bring the minimum wage to parity with cost of living, expand collective-bargaining rights to all public employees, prevent wage theft and misclassification across all industries, and repeal Virginia’s anti-worker so-called “right to work” law.

It is critical we send Del. Lopez back to Richmond so he can continue to deliver for working families. That is why IBEW 26 and numerous other unions in Northern Virginia stand with him. He’s the delegate we trust to deliver on his promise to build a Virginia that lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind.

Slaiman is the political coordinator for IBEW Local 26. Akerman is the Northern Virginia director for the Baltimore/DC-Metro Building Trades. Hess is a labor advocate in Washington, D.C.

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