Muni Denies A037 Referendum, Next Stop, Court

AEA President Andy Holleman. Photo from the Anchorage Education Association.
AEA President Andy Holleman. Photo from the Anchorage Education Association.

The city of Anchorage has rejected a second version of an application to hold a referendum to repeal a new ordinance that limits unions. And it looks like whether the referendum goes forward will be decided in court.

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The clerk’s office rejected the latest referendum application because attorneys say the ordinance is administrative rather than legislative, so it can’t be reversed by a referendum. Andy Holleman, with the Anchorage Education Association was a sponsor of the application. He disagrees with the city’s decision.

“The next step now is to go to the courts and ask them to rule on it.”

The group’s second attempt at a referendum cleaned up some technical problems with the first application.

Holleman says union leaders will be asking the court for expedited consideration and for the law to be suspended. But he says their primary goal, is to bring the law before the people of Anchorage for a vote.

“Real bargaining needs to be balanced between both parties. And essentially we feel that what Dan Sullivan did, prior to starting bargaining, is he went in an legislated a lot of what he wanted to see at the bargaining table.”

Attorney’s working for the Municipality on behalf of the Sullivan Administration maintain the referendum can’t legally go forward. The ordinance impacts around 22-hundred municipal employees. It limits pay, benefits and mediation, and eliminates the option of a strike.