Saturday, March 23, 2013

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan Backpedals, Introduces Revised Labor Ordinance AO 2013-37(S-1); Unions Not Sold On the Revision

Update March 26th: The Anchorage Assembly voted 6-5 to pass AO 2013-37(S-1), the second revision of Mayor Dan Sullivan's labor ordinance. Updated post HERE.

On March 22nd, 2013, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, taking into consideration many of the objections expressed by organized labor and other community members to AO 2013-37, his original labor relations ordinance, introduced a second revision known as AO 2013-37(S-1). According to the Anchorage Daily News, it accomplishes five primary purposes:

-- Limits pay increases to the five-year average of the Anchorage consumer price index plus 1 percent.

-- Eliminates performance incentives but existing longevity pay and service recognition programs would be grandfathered in. Pay levels under "Performance Incentive Programs" would be frozen at existing levels at the end of current union contracts. The previous version would have eliminated all longevity pay and service recognition programs.

-- Standardizes benefits programs such as to health, dental, life or disability plans among unions but not retirement or pension plans. The previous version would have standardized all benefit programs.

-- Redefines arbitration. In the event of an impasse, both sides hand their proposals to an arbitrator. The arbitrator must pick one side or the other in its entirety. If the Assembly accepts the arbitrators' decision, it must approve the decision with at least eight votes. If the Assembly doesn't accept the decision, the administration can impose its last better offer.

-- Permits some outsourcing of city work regardless of the provisions of a union contract. Exempted from outsourcing will be firefighters, EMS, fire prevention, police officers, community service officers, dispatchers, police evidence technicians and records clerks. The previous version triggered fears that 911 dispatch work might be outsourced outside Alaska.

Four Assembly members are solidly behind the mayor; three others, including Dick Traini, Paul Honeman, and Elvi Grey-Jackson, solidly oppose him.

Comparison of Ordinances and Related Documents:

-- Original AO 2013-37 -- 30 pages
-- First Revision, AO 2013-37(S): 30 pages
-- Summary of First Revision changes by line
-- Second Revision, AO 2013-37(S-1): 37 pages
-- Summary of Second Revision changes by line
-- Anchorage Assembly candidates state their positions on AO 2013-37

Reaction: Assemblywoman Debbie Ossiander is not supportive of S-1, because she wanted to see language saying unions could negotiate whether seniority should be a factor in staffing, scheduling and overtime as it is in some cases now. Assemblyman Paul Honeman, a vociferous opponent of AO 2013-37, handed out a resolution, AR 2013-77, he plans to introduce at the March 26th Assembly meeting calling for the Assembly to postpone voting on the plan for six months, until October 8th. Honeman wants to set up a task force to enable the Assembly and the administration to collaborate on the rewrite. Police Sgt. Gerard Asselin, head of a coalition of the eight city unions, said recent conversations between union representatives and Assembly members haven't left the union leaders feeling the outcome will be an end product that's going to be helpful. Anchorage firefighters union president Rod Harris is disgusted with the process and said a majority of the Assembly are doing the mayor's work. The unions are pouring money into the campaigns of two Assembly candidates opposed to AO 2013-37, Dick Traini and Tim Steele.

The Anchorage Press has also published a good analysis of the issue and the players. The Press also published a guest opinion by Ronald M. Wielkopolski, a retired magistrate who worked as a law clerk for noted labor lawyer Robert M. Goldberg at the time of passage of the city’s 1976 public employment relations law. He disapproves of AO 2013-37, saying that it constitutes outdated early 20th century union busting contrary to state legislative findings. He questions the mayor's timing, saying that Sullivan introduced his proposal too late for potential Assembly opposition candidates to file, then claimed he wanted his proposal in place in time for April union contract negotiations. The proposal induced two write-in candidates, Nick Moe and Lynette Moreno-Hinz, to jump into the race after the filing deadline.

No comments:

Post a Comment