Oxfam: Virginia Ranks Poorly for Worker Protections

Sep 2, 2019

Virginia has a well-known reputation as being a state that’s good for business. But what about workers?

Virginia is the worst state for workers in the country. That’s the conclusion of a new report from British anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam, which looked at wage standards, worker protections and the right to organize.

Kim Bobo at the Virginia Interfaith Center says Virginia can have its cake and eat it too.  “You can both be good for business and good for workers," Bobo argues, "and what Virginia has chosen to do is be good for business and really horrible for workers.”

Bobo says Virginia deserves the ranking there are no minimum wage standards or powerful labor unions.

Others disagree.  “Virginia’s great for workers,” says Chris Saxman at Virginia Free, a pro-business nonprofit in Chesterfield.  “We have great median income. We have great unemployment rates. We have great schools for you to send your kids to. We have great higher education. We need to do better on affordability and health care.”

Click here to read the full analysis from Oxfam

The Oxfam analysis gave Virginia a zero for wage standards and a zero for right to organize. Only Mississippi ranked lower than Virginia in terms of worker protections.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.