Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Court Order Blocks AWWU Workers From Going On Strike Against City
Both municipality, union say judge should resolve dispute over pay raises
ANCHORAGE—Some good news for Anchorage residents who will find their tap water is still running smoothly Friday morning. AWWU workers were planning to go on strike at 10 a.m. Friday but a court injunction has changed that.
Both sides in the disagreement over pay raises have decided it’s better to let a judge sort it out and avoid a strike.
“It’s a victory for the citizens of Anchorage,” said union attorney Chuck Dunnagan. “I think the union is proud of that, the employees are proud of that. I think the city did its part and that’s something everybody can be proud of.”
An independent arbitrator has already sided with the union, saying workers deserve what amounts to a $3 million pay raise over the next three years. The mayor has offered them a million dollars, instead, and says the lower offer makes sense.
“We aren’t quite out of the woods with the recession that we’ve come out of,” said Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. “And a lot of people are predicting that we might be on to a new recession based on job numbers and stock market performance, so I think it’s a good time to hold the line on contracts.”
Sullivan says if the arbitrator rules in favor of the union, Anchorage residents will end up paying, with higher property tax and utility rates.
The judge will hold a hearing Nov. 10 and make a decision from there.