Proposed Initiative Targets Union Dues

Members of the Anchorage Tea Party and Libertarian groups have filed an application to put a ballot measure before voters that would prevent the municipality from deducting union dues directly from employee paychecks.

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Glen Biegel is a conservative am radio talk show show host in Anchorage who who signed onto the application for the ballot measure.

“The essence of the proposal is that the city should not be responsible for collecting the unions’ dues,” Biegel said. “That if people want to pay their union dues that that should be done through them writing their own checks.”

Biegel says he’s a Tea Party member and he supports recent labor relations changes in states like Wisconsin.

The ballot measure, Beigal says, would serve as an alternative for voters to another proposed ballot measure concerning Ordinance 37. The controversial ordinance, which was passed by the Assembly in March, limits performance pay, benefits, and strikes and allows some municipal jobs to be contracted out.

Russ Millette, who has been involved with the Alaska Republican Party and nearly became it’s chairman last year, also signed onto the initiative application. He says he doesn’t like, what he calls, “forced unionism.”

“If people want to joint a union, they totally have a right to do that under our legal system; and I support that right,” Millette said. “What they don’t have the right to do is require them to pay union dues and take that as an automatic deduction for the right to work.”

“I’m against forced unionism.”

The application for the ballot measure was submitted last week. City attorneys are reviewing it. The municipal election is scheduled for April 1.