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Assembly may take action on AO-37

By Bonney Bowman 7:14 PM August 1, 2014

If the Anchorage Assembly doesn’t pass an amended version of AO-37 at its next meeting, the future of the controversial labor law will be decided by the people.

The Assembly has been working to avoid the referendum on AO-37. The bill limits unions’ negotiating rights, including making a strike illegal.

Assembly member Dick Traini proposed repealing AO-37 outright.

But fellow member Jennifer Johnston proposed more than 50 amendments which, she says, are designed to address the key issues with the law.

Johnston says she worked with local unions to address the main points of contention with AO-37, softening a lot of the language.

She says strikes and binding arbitration are back on the table, while managed competition is out.

The Assembly will address the issue at next Tuesday’s meeting.

Johnston says if she has eight votes supporting her amendments, the Assembly will vote to repeal AO-37 and put her changes into place.

If she doesn’t have eight votes — enough to override a mayoral veto — she’ll pull her amendments and let the issue go to a vote of the people, she said.

“I’m not going to go out here on a limb, trying to work a compromise that doesn’t have at least a super majority of the Assembly behind it,” Johnston said.

The issue will also be open for public comment at next Tuesday’s meeting.

If the Assembly doesn’t take action on AO-37, the referendum will be on the state ballot in the November election.

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