Skip to main content

Anchorage Mayor and potential GOP Senate candidate, Dan Sullivan, is pushing for legislation to weaken the hard work then-mayor and current U.S. Senator, Mark Begich (D. AK), installed before running for U.S. Senate in 2008:

Anchorage — Mayor Dan Sullivan and two Assembly leaders are introducing a measure Tuesday that would weaken the power of city labor unions.

If approved, the proposal would rewrite city law in a way that takes away the right to strike, curbs pay increases and eliminates raises based solely on longevity or performance bonuses.

Unions would not be allowed to seek binding arbitration to resolve contract disputes under the proposal. Those disputes would be decided by the Assembly.

Sullivan's plan would also allow "managed competition," in which the city workforce competes with the private sector for certain jobs. It would limit union contract terms to three years.

No existing contracts would be affected.

The proposal by the conservative, second-term mayor aims to make sweeping changes to the way many city employees negotiate for their pay and benefits. The plan is expected to come up for public hearing and a possible vote Feb. 26. - Anchorage Daily News, 2/9/13

The plan would also prohibit unions from striking:

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. - KTVA, 2/9/13

Here are the specifics of the plan:
Among the specific provisions:

Labor cost increases in any year would be limited to the average percentage change of the state's consumer price index for Anchorage over the prior five years.

Employee health plans would all be the same. If a union has its own health plan, city contributions to the plan would be no higher than city spending on the plan sponsored by the municipality.

All pay-for-performance incentive pay or longevity pay would be eliminated.

If a union and management reached the end of negotiations with no agreement, their last offers would be presented to the Assembly, which would choose one or the other side but make no changes.

Strikes would be prohibited. - Anchorage Daily News, 2/9/13

Sullivan has long been a critic of Begich's work as mayor to help public employees and organized labor.  Before Begich left office, the Assembly approved new five-year contracts with four of the city's nine labor unions, the police, fire, the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  Begich's work as mayor in support of organized labor earned him an early endorsement for his 2014 re-election campaign:
The Alaska AFL-CIO endorsed the Democrat this week, more than a year and a half before voters go to the polls.

“Senator Begich has shown time and time again that he cares about Alaska’s workforce. He values hard work and wants to make sure that good jobs come to Alaska, and stay in Alaska,” said Alaska AFL-CIO president Vince Beltrami in a statement.

The AFL-CIO represents more than 50,000 workers in the state. - KTOO, 1/24/13

PPP shows Begich beating Sullivan in their latest Alaskan U.S. Senate poll:

Begich has a 49% approval rating, with 39% of voters disapproving of him. He's holding up pretty well in the Republican leaning state because independents give him good marks by a 54/32 margin, and he has crossover support from 24% of GOP voters.

In hypothetical head to heads Begich leads Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan 47/41, Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell 47/39, former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman 50/40, former Governor Sarah Palin 54/38, and 2010 nominee Joe Miller 58/30. Palin's numbers are a reflection of her continuing to be very unpopular on the home front- 34% of voters see her positively to 59% with a negative opinion. She looks popular by comparison to Miller though- he has only a 20% favorability rating with 63% of voters giving him poor marks. - PPP, 2/7/13

You can read why a Democrat like Begich is popular in a red state like Alaska here:

The last thing we need is another union-buster in the U.S. Senate.  Begich has a great record on organized labor, middle-class issues and looking out for working families in Alaska.  The GOP will be gunning for him heavily in 2014.  Lets give him the resources he needs to win:

Originally posted to pdc on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:52 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site