Home

Benefits & Services

Union Leadership

News

PAC

Calendar

News

1. What is the 'AO' from Governor Dunleavy?

Governor Dunleavy issued an Administrative Order (AO 312) that violates state law and signed labor contracts, including the 2019-2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Alaska and ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 (see below).

 

2. How is this AO a violation of our contract?

AO 312 violates Article 3, Section 1 of our ASEA Contract (3.01 Noninterference) which states (bolding added for emphasis):

The Employer (the State) agrees that it will not in any manner, directly or indirectly, attempt to interfere between any bargaining unit member and the Union. [And that] it will not in any manner attempt to restrain any bargaining unit member from belonging to the Union…”

 

3. How is this AO a violation of state law?

Alaska State Law defines unfair labor practices (AS 23.40.110) and prohibits a public employer from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees from exercising their rights to self-organize or join a union organization (these rights are codified in AS 23.40.080).

 

4. Do any other states apply the same interpretation of JANUS as Dunleavy’s Attorney General?

No. There is not another state in the nation that has sought to interpret Janus so broadly or apply procedures as extreme as this administration. Judge Miller pointed out how extreme Governor Dunleavy’s proposed procedures are in his October 3 decision granting ASEA/AFSCME Local 52’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the State (bolding added for emphasis):

The State’s conduct – including the issuance of its September 26, 2019 administrative order – seems directly at odds with both PERA and the CBA the State signed, in that the State is “interfere[ing] with the formation, existence, or administration of a[] [labor] organization. The State provides no colorable explanation for why the existing dues authorization form’s annual opt-out period is not sufficient.

The Judge goes on to provide an example of similar contracts that State agrees to:

Employer-sponsored health insurance plans, for example, typically have a once-a-year opt-in/opt-out period, and absent special circumstances such as marriage or divorce, that once-annual decision is binding. Political elections are once every four years. Most contracts are not revocable at will. The State does not explain why union membership should be any different.

 

5. What is the Janus decision?

On June 27, 2018, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 that overturned decades of established law that provided a basis for union membership as a condition of employment. Public employees now opt-in to union membership. Learn more from the Alaska AFL-CIO FAQ sheet on the Janus decision.

 

6. Why did the Dunleavy Administration sue our union and what is the status of the AO now?

The Dunleavy administration has been stopped from continued union interference by the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a Preliminary Injunction. Sadly, AO 312 is one example of a pattern of attacks on government services and the public employees—our members—who provide them. Contract protections prevent members from being fired at will or dismissed for failing to sign a loyalty pledge (see the provision in our contract that describe “discipline and discharge shall be for just cause” in Article 14). This administration appears ready to do everything in its power to silence employees and take their power away. Together, we are a Union that sticks together to push back against these extreme attacks, to demand that Alaska’s laws are followed and that our contracts are honored, and to ensure that our members have a voice on the job and respect in the workplace.

 

7. Why do the Governor’s lawyers want to expedite this case?

This Administration isn’t satisfied with the TRO and the Preliminary Injunction decisions. Governor Dunleavy wants to take this case out of Alaska and set it on a path to the US Supreme Court to further develop the Janus holding. “Consolidation on a trial of the merits” would allow the Governor’s D.C. lawyers to quickly appeal to the Alaska Supreme court. The Alaska Superior Court denied the State’s request to consolidate complaints, finding “[t]he State, having chosen to file this lawsuit, cannot now unilaterally decide what counterclaims ASEA is entitled to pursue to final judgement.” The next steps in this case include discovery, preparation of a factual record, and a final determination on ASEA’s request for a permanent injunction. The State has until November 18 to submit its formal response to ASEA’s allegations and third-party complaints. We value our judicial system in Alaska and are happy that our judges will have the opportunity to thoroughly vet the legal claims and have confidence in their ability to correctly interpret the laws. This case is an Alaska issue that should stay in Alaska, and be decided by Alaskans, not by Outside interests.

 

8. What can state employees do?

State employees can:

  1. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and provide ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 with a backup email address in the event that the Administration decides to cut off our ability to contact you. You can provide that by using this link tinyurl.com/ASEASignup to add your information.
  2. Attend your local union chapter and worksite meetings to stay informed and get your questions answered.
  3. Be active and stay engaged! Follow us on social media or frequent our website for the latest news and information.
  4. Stay in the know by subscribing to mobile text alerts. For this issue, text NOAO to 237-263
  5. Contact your ASEA Business Agent right away with any issue you fear is a violation of your workers’ rights, our contracts, or other nefarious actions.

 

9. How will this impact other public employees (other than ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 members) in Alaska?

The administration has so far named only ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 in its lawsuit. The outcome of these lawsuits however will set a precedent for how all public employees are treated. It is important that we continue to stick together during these legal battles to protect our hard-fought and hard-won contracts. When public employees suffer, our communities suffer, our cities, municipalities, and boroughs suffer—our entire state suffers. We know that public employees across the state work hard to keep Alaska running at every level. And we will continue to work hard to protect your voice on the job and power in the workplace.