Saturday, May 25, 2013
Assembly Votes Down Raise For AWWU Union Workers
The union workers requested a 10 to 15 percent increase—which would have come to about $3 an hour per person—over the next three years.
The Anchorage Assembly voted seven to four Tuesday night to not increase the wages for 135 Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility workers.
Retired Superior Court Judge Douglas Serdahely sided with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 367 and said they were underpaid compared to other workers in the same field at other utilities.
The union workers requested a 10 to 15 percent increase—which would have come to about $3 an hour per person—over the next three years. The city proposed a 5 percent increase over the next three years.
“We have no intention of going to his assembly and making any kind of threats,” said union spokesman and attorney Charles Dunnagan who called the request a “reasonable deal.”
If the contract had passed, it wouldn’t have affected the city budget but it would have affected how much consumers pay in their water bill. Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander said there is already a projected 6 to 8 percent increase that is expected to go into effect, and passage of the contract would have increased wages even more.
She said the real concern is a potential strike from the union workers.
“It’s a big concern. These employees are really in charge of everybody's water—our septic systems…it’s a public health issue,” Ossiander said.
If the workers decide to strike, the city could file a court order that would require workers to return to their jobs.