RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Attorney General Mark Herring has released a statement regarding legislation that he, his team along with Delegate Elizabeth Guzman worked on that allows public employees to collectively bargain.

This legislation was enacted into law on Saturday, May 1.

“Virginia’s workers are the backbone of our economy and our communities. Now, local public employees have the ability to be recognized as a labor union, allowing themselves to organize and advocate for the benefits they deserve. I am proud to have worked alongside Delegate Guzman and other labor advocates to craft this important legislation and ensure its passage. For too long, Virginia’s worker protection laws have been too weak and I will continue this fight to strengthen protections for the people who keep our communities moving forward.”

Mark Herring, Virginia’s Attorney General

In March, Herring announced the designation of the Virginia Attorney General’s first Worker Protection Unit, a multidisciplinary team of prosecutors and attorneys within the Office of the Attorney General, led by a dedicated criminal prosecutor, that focuses on investigating, stopping and prosecuting individuals and businesses who unlawfully engage in worker exploitation, in addition to educating Virginia workers on their rights.

As its first area of focus, the team is focusing on worker misclassification, wage theft, and payroll fraud, and work to coordinate efforts across state government with the goal of bringing cases and enforcement action to end worker exploitation.