• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers: Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA - Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 17s

Union lawyer: Enstar trying to cause strike

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: Nick Swann - 8:23 PM July 10, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Reps for Enstar’s workers’ union say employees will walk off the job after eleventh-hour negotiations fell apart.

The gas company and their union are at an impasse.

Union reps say the strike will happen on or after July 24. If their employees do walk off the job, Enstar will be to blame, they said.

The union says time and time again they’ve offered concessions and proposals and time and time again Enstar hasn’t budged.

After two days of discussion, Enstar’s best and final offer was almost identical to the one union members rejected three weeks ago, said Chuck Dunnagan, lawyer for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 367.

“That doesn’t fix the health, it doesn’t really fix the pension, it wasn’t enough money so we could actually take this to anybody and say hey, they’ve put it someplace else, think about this again,” Dunnagan said.

Enstar is owned in part by Michigan-based company Semco.

Dunnagan says he thinks it’s these Michigan managers who are pulling the strings.

“They say it’s purely coincidental the 2.25 percent is what the Semco employees got, it’s purely coincidental that they ended the pension plan for the Semco employees and so on.”

Some of those Michigan managers are already here in Alaska. Dunnagan says Enstar employees are being forced to train them in field work.

“When the employees go out on strike, they’re just going to simply assign their managers to do those jobs until the strike is over,” said Dunnagan, adding it isn’t a safe solution.

KTVA reached out to Enstar for comment. Business development director John Sims said he didn’t have time to go on camera with us, but he issued this statement:

“Enstar and Local 367 have met and proposals have been exchanged where substantial movement was made. Enstar’s last proposal to the union had no reductions in health care and retirement benefits for all current employees and included an increase in wages for the next three years.”

Dunnagan says that’s true, but those wage increases don’t keep up with inflation and new employees would be kept out of those benefits.

He says it’s an example of how he thinks Enstar is twisting the truth.

“I think they’re trying to cause a strike. I think that they have misstated any number of things to us and I’ve told them that,” Dunnagan said. “That’s actually a problem now with working with them, that there isn’t a great deal of trust.”

After receiving his initial comment, KTVA reached out to Sims with more questions, including why Enstar brought in out-of-state workers before negotiations wrapped up, what role Semco is playing and why the company is working to cut benefits during a time of record profits.

He never responded to our questions.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Aces coach, players try to process the end of an era

    by Dave Goldman on Feb 23, 23:00

    Alaska Aces’ Head Coach Rob Murray had a hard time finding the words. “It’s shocking. It’s disappointing. It’s … I could go on and use as many phrases as I want,” Murray said in an interview Thursday after the announcement was made that this would be the team’s final season. Before Thursday’s win at Elmira, Murray […]

  • Politics

    Bill to triple motor fuel tax makes first move in Alaska House

    by Liz Raines on Feb 23, 20:36

    The Alaska House Transportation Committee moved a bill Thursday that would increase costs at the pump, if passed. Alaska currently has the lowest motor fuel tax in the nation. The gas we put in our cars is taxed at 8 cents a gallon, and has been since 1970. Gov. Bill Walker wants to triple the tax […]

  • Alaskans react to reversal of federal transgender bathroom policies

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 23, 20:14

    Alaskans are reacting to an announcement from the President Donald Trump’s administration Wednesday that says it’s dropping federal protections for transgender students. Trump’s stance simply means it’s now up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity. The Anchorage School District spokesperson Heather Marron wrote in an email […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Senate calls for across-the-board cuts to state departments

    by Liz Raines on Feb 23, 19:26

    State departments should be preparing for a five percent cut to their budgets — that’s the message from the Alaska Senate Finance Committee. Committee members are calling for across-the-board reductions during the next fiscal year, which starts in July. Members have said Health and Social Services, Education, Transportation and the University of Alaska are the top four […]

  • Politics

    Congressional committee asks EPA to give proposed Pebble Mine another shot

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 23, 19:03

    A congressional committee is asking the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give Alaska’s Pebble Mine another shot. Texas republican Lamar Smith chairs the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology committee. In a letter to newly confirmed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Smith asks the agency to rescind its 2014 decision that invoked […]

  • News

    Alaska AG says feds couldn’t overturn state’s pot law

    by KTVA / AP on Feb 23, 17:09

    A representative for the Alaska attorney general’s office says a change in how the federal government enforces its own marijuana laws would not affect state marijuana laws. Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills says Alaska’s law legalizing recreational marijuana wouldn’t be overturned. She commented after White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested during a press briefing […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The uncivil war over the Confederate flag

    by John Tracy on Feb 23, 15:58

    You know the saying; a picture is worth a thousand words. The use of symbols is possibly worth a thousand times more. Recently, a group of kids from Chugiak High School got in hot water for posting a photo of themselves posing with a confederate battle flag. The photo made the rounds on social media […]

  • Police: Fairbanks mother killed by ex-boyfriend in apparent murder-suicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 23, 15:13

    Fairbanks police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide that took place in a residence sometime Wednesday afternoon, according to a press release issued Thursday. The victim, 24-year-old Vanessa Reese, and her estranged boyfriend, 26-year-old Thien Tran, were found dead from gunshot wounds inside Tran’s home. “The preliminary investigation indicates that Tran shot Reese then killed himself,” Fairbanks Police […]