Virginia Gov. Mills E. Godwin favors creation of some new mechanism for resolving public employee disputes and grievances that would fall short of any form of collective bargaining, a legislator close to Godwin said today.
The statement from Del. J. Samuel Glasscock (D-Suffolk), a former law partner of the governor, came as the House Labor and Commerce Committee killed a bill that would give public employee groups the right to "meet and confer" with local government officials. The vote was 11 to 6.
Godwin, who last month won a State Supreme Court ruling outlawing collective bargaining agreements by local governments, was opposed to the House measure, offered by House Majority Leader James M. Thomson (D-Alexandria). Today's committee action had been widely anticipated.
Glasscock, who led opposition to the hill in the committee, said later he had briefly discussed the problem with Godwin and said the governor was "just as concerned as we are" about what will happen to local governments that have had labor contracts made invalid by the Court's Ruling.
"I don't find him insensitive to the problem at all," Glasscock said. But he declined to suggest what Godwin might be considering, saying only "there has got to be some middle ground" between collective bargaining agreements and the lack of state legislation governing local governments' relations with employee groups.
Glasscock urged the committee to begin a study of what the state might do in the field but said he doubted the current legislature would act on any legislation at its current session.