Injunction Plugs Water Utility Strike

A utility workers strike in Anchorage has been averted, due to health concerns.

Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility workers voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to go on strike. The move comes after a dispute between the municipality and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 367 over pay issues. The city and the union have failed to reach agreement on a wage increases for a new contract.

Today (Thursday) the city received a court injunction enjoining the water utility workers from striking over the unresolved contract issues. Alaska Superior Court judge Frank Pfieffner says Plumbers and Pipefitters Union employees who work for the city are covered by the Anchorage Municipal Code, and that city workers in the code’s A2 category may not go on strike for an unlimited length of time, because of health issues.

Attorney Charles Dunnagan represents the plumbers union. He says the union is cooperating with the ruling

Dunnagan says the strike may be permanently enjoined, because of the importance of the water employees work. The union had announced its intention to strike starting tomorrow (Friday). Dunnagan says if the union gives up it’s right to strike, the water workers may gain some of their contract goals. Under the judge’s ruling today [thursday], the contract dispute will now go to the courts. A hearing is set for November 10.

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