Mayor Targets Collective Bargaining in New Ordinance
Police and firefighters would see drastic changes to union rules
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is targeting unions in a move that is not unlike that of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Late Friday afternoon the mayor’s office submitted a proposed ordinance to the Anchorage Assembly that could completely overhaul collective bargaining rights and dramatically change the relationship between the municipality and its employees. (See notes to the proposed ordinance here.)
The ordinance is aimed at city employees and organizations across a wide spectrum of jobs, but the language goes out of its way to define two jobs with new language: police and firefighters.
While some of the changes proposed in the ordinance are small, like standardizing recognized holidays across all branches of the municipality, the mayor proposes sweeping changes with this ordinance.
The mayor also wants to redefine overtime, and the proposal also seeks to eliminate all pay increases tied to performance, longevity, or recognition, and instead tie all pay raises to "enhanced qualifications" -- a term which the proposal doesn't define.
There are other major changes, and many have to do with how the city deals with unions. If the city and a union are unable to agree on a new contract, the mayor's proposal would allow the Anchorage Assembly to vote on which side's proposals sounds best.
And most drastically, the new proposal removes four pages of rules that dictate how unions go about strikes, and it affirms several times that "strikes or any work disruptions" are prohibited outright.
This proposal isn't limited to firefighters and police officers. It also includes sewer and water employees, and electrical employees and port employees, as well.
A final section of the proposed ordinance reads, “If passed, it would not affect the terms of any existing agreements.” But the new rules would be applied to all future agreements.
The proposal will be first heard in the Anchorage Assembly this coming Tuesday and is expected to be voted on at the February 26 meeting.