Could a long-running debate finally be over? On Tuesday night, Anchorage Assembly members voted to repeal the city’s controversial labor law known as AO- 37. Shortly after that, the Assembly passed a new version of the ordinance that some have dubbed “AO-37 light.”
The amended law gives unions several things they were asking for, including the right to strike and collective bargaining. But is also brings big changes, particularly for the Anchorage Police Department, which will no longer be able to award overtime solely on seniority.
Assemblyman Dick Traini, who introduced the new ordinance, said in his view, there was compromise on both sides.
“You’ve got both sides saying, we didn’t like it, but we did it, and we can live with it,” Traini said. “And that’s the way it should be.”
Mayor Sullivan could still veto the repeal of AO-37. He has seven days to make up his mind. If he does, the referendum will go back to the ballot for voters to decide.
If voters do chose to repeal the law, the Assembly is prohibited from taking up similar labor issues for the next two years. That’s why some are encouraging the mayor to let the new ordinance stand. Legally, the new version could be tweaked by the Assembly, or even changed entirely under a new administration.