Anchorage NAACP Denounces AO37 Repeal

Aug 12, 2014

Credit NAACP Anchorage

The repeal of an Anchorage law that greatly curbed the power of labor unions has been vetoed by the mayor, a move that has drawn condemnation from labor and minority groups. KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

Anchorage mayor Daniel Sullivan vetoed the city assembly’s repeal of Anchorage Ordinance 37 Monday.  The controversial law contains provisions that greatly reduce the power of labor unions.  These include eliminating striking rights, binding arbitration in financial disputes, and pay based on seniority or performance.  The move was strongly condemned by both labor unions and minority groups.  Anchorage NAACP 1st Vice President Kevin McGee said the measure effectively remove’s unions’ ability to negotiate.

"The right to strike, I mean that’s always been a given within the labor arena.  They have no other options if management chooses not to sit down at the table and work with the unions to try to come to a viable agreement.  What options do you have?  It presents itself as an attempt to go to a “right to work” attitude, and the right to work, in the opinion of the NAACP, is that now, you have the right to work for less."

McGee says contrary to expectations, the opposition to organized labor is a recent phenomenon. 

"Alaska has had a good labor management relations attitude as a whole throughout the state for years, and it’s my firm belief that for whatever reason, Alaska’s current political arena does not want to have anything to do with labor rights and wants to eliminate all these right and such that previous administrations came to agreement on."

The Anchorage City Assembly has the chance to override Sullivan’s veto.  If they do not, AO37 will become a referendum on the city ballot.