Mayor’s Radio Ad Has Unions Crying Foul
Unions say mayor’s ads supporting labor law ordinance don’t clear up questions
ANCHORAGE - Radio ads about the mayor's new ordinance to overhaul the city's labor laws have been hitting the Anchorage airwaves for about two weeks. As part of a $28,000 ad campaign from the mayor’s office, a new ad featuring the mayor started airing late last week. But union workers say the ad doesn’t tell the whole story.
In the ad the mayor addresses what his ordinance calls "managed competition," essentially a way for private businesses to bid for contracts to perform city services.
“Hi, I'm Mayor Dan Sullivan,” the ad begins. “Leaders of the Anchorage Assembly and I recently introduced the Responsible Labor Act, an ordinance that will improve the way future labor contracts are negotiated.” Highlighting benefits of the proposal in the ad, Mayor Sullivan states that emergency services aren't eligible for bids from private contractors.
“I can assure you that public safety services, such as EMS and 911, will not be considered for bid,” the ad states. But Anchorage fire fighters aren't so quick to accept the mayor's word.
“Nothing's been put out in writing,” Rod Harris said. As the president of the Anchorage Fire Fighters Union, he said the ordinance, as it stands now, puts public safety out to bid.
“The original ordinance had EMS in there, that it could be contracted out,” Harris said. “We've been told now by the mayor in those meetings, and publicly, that that's not the case. But we have not seen the amendments yet.”
“We're still not getting full answers to our questions on any of that,” Harris said.
Today the Fire Fighters Union released an ad of their own, urging listeners to talk to their Assembly representative to get answers for those questions.
In the fire fighter’s ad, Harris says “it's important that the full impact of any legislation is known before it is enacted. The future potential of this ordinance is still not clear.”
It’s how the unions are urging the assembly to work out answers going in to a public hearing set for this Wednesday, where another over-flow crowd is expected.
As for the amendments, Assembly Chair Ernie Hall said the assembly is working on the drafts of several amendments, and trying to address other issues that have been raised about the ordinance, but they won't be releasing an amended version until March 8, after they've allowed the public to weigh in.