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Alaska Supreme Court Supports Municipality of Anchorage

On Friday, March 29, 2013 the Alaska Supreme Court issued its decision in Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 367 v. Municipality of Anchorage. The decision affirms the Municipality’s position that its labor ordinances empowered the Anchorage Assembly, not an arbitrator, to make the final decision on approval of a labor contract.

The decision further affirms that the ordinances did not empower the court system with the authority to force the Anchorage Assembly to adopt the arbitrator’s decision. The union argued that the court should superimpose an “unlimited right to strike or a right to binding arbitration for all public employees.”

The decision concludes “the Court cannot override the policy choices of the people’s elected representatives in this manner.” The court ruled that the union is enjoined from striking through June of this year and the Municipality may impose its last best offer.
The two sides are now preparing for and entering into negotiations for their next contract. The Municipality looks forward to working closely and cooperatively with the union in the hopes of crafting a new agreement acceptable to the Anchorage Assembly.
“We’re glad this is concluded and the court has given us a clear path forward,” said Mayor Dan Sullivan.
 

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