Honeman Tries to Slow Labor Overhaul Down

Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA - Anchorage
Union leaders observed Municipal Attorneys answering Assembly member’s questions about the controversial ordinance at City Hall Friday. Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage Assembly member Paul Honeman is trying to slow down the process to pass a controversial Anchorage ordinance that would limit unions. He introduced a resolution at a work session at city hall Friday.

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Paul Honeman
Paul Honeman

Honeman proposed a resolution that would postpone action on the ordinance for six months. He says there are still too many questions about the overhaul of labor law to move forward.

Honeman’s resolution can be adopted by the Assembly with 6 votes. It’s essentially a directive to the Assembly.

“It gives us the time, the Assembly, the administration, labor organizations and outside labor interest groups, to set down in a collaborative manner, in a work committee or task force or whatever you want to call it, and literally pick apart this ordinance,” Honeman said. “I mean you hear one side, you schedule a week letter, you hear another side, and each of the assembly members still have lists of questions coming through.”

Although a new version of the ordinance was presented at the work session, several members expressed concern that the document did not incorporate some changes that members were expecting to see. The proposed ordinance was announced on February 8th by Mayor Dan Sullivan. It would limit union longevity and performance pay, benefits, and eliminate binding arbitration along with strikes. It would also allow some municipal jobs to be contracted out. Sullivan says the changes are needed to keep costs down, and the ordinance must be rushed because of upcoming union negotiations. Unions leaders representing 2,200 or so municipal employees offered a one year wage freeze in exchange for tabling of the ordinance, but the Sullivan administration turned them down. Honeman plans to introduce his resolution at Tuesday’s regular Assembly meeting, the same meeting at which the ordinance is scheduled for action.