Virginia Gov. Mills E. Godwin dismissed today as "not anything unusual" the complaints of Northern Virginia govermental workers that they are being hurt because the Virginia Supreme Court overturned their collective bargaining agreements.
The governor, however, conceded that local governments in the state may have become "a bit more independent" in dealing with their employees since the state Supreme Court ruled that Virginia localities had no power sign union contracts.
Local and state government workers in Northern Virginia have complained they are getting lower than normal wage increase offers and losing other benefits as a result of the January court decision.
Godwin said today that he didn't believe "the absence of collective bargaining has got anything to do" with the current complaints in Northern Virginia. Most employees typically make such complaints, he told a news conference.
If the absence of the agreements has strengthened the hands of the local governing bodies, "that would be good in my opinion," the governor said.
Long a foe of collective bargaining for public workers, Godwin said he has based his opposition on fears that local governments with such agreements are surrendering part of their powers to "third party" negotiators. "I just think that the board of supervisors, city council, or school board ought to have the final say-so in the matter," he said. Godwin repeated that he has no objection to public employees talking their employers about job conditions and salaries.
Turning to political matters, the governor said he knew of nothing in substantiate Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew P. Miller's charge that Democrat Henry E. Howell and Republican Lt. Gov. John N. Dalton have formed an "odd, unholy alliance" to defeat Miller in the June 14 Democratic primary.
In fact, Godwin said, "I cannot think of any unholy, or unlikely, alliance than one of the candidates on the Democratic ticket and Lt. Gov. Dalton."
Miller, in a Tuesday night speech to campaign workers in suburban Richmond, charged that Howell and Dalton, who is certain to be the Republican Party's nominee for governor, were attempting for different reasons to defeat him in the primary. Some Republicans, Miller claimed, are "quietly" urging other Republicans to vote for Howell in the Primary - a practice that is possible in Virginia because the state does not have party registration.
Most political observers in the state have said such a crossover is unlikely. Godwin today again urged Republicans not to vote in the Democratic primary, but said he did not plan to make any special appeals to party workers on the subject.
Although Godwin has been careful to avoid involving himself in the campaign issues, he did today give an indirect rebuke to Howell's flat pledge of no new taxes, if elected. "It's awfully hard to say that there absolutely wouldn't be any tax increase for any purpose during a four-year period," Godwin said.
He also said he would "question seriously" whether Miller's promise to avoid new taxes by improving government operations and efficiency can be met in the next four years.
The governor also announced that he has written the state's congressional delegation urging them to vote against President Carter's proposed voter registration law because it would create "open opportunity for flagrant abuse" and "wholesale" busing of voters to the polls on election day.