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Alaska City Workers Protest Expired Contracts

September 2, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

FAIRBANKS, Alaska—About 100 people rallied in a park across from City Hall here Aug. 23 to protest that the city’s firefighters, police, and office staff are all working under expired contracts. “If you can’t bargain in good faith, you need to go,” Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami declared, in comments aimed at an apparently absent Mayor Jim Matherly. City police officers’ contract expired in 2011, Public Safety Employees Association leader Richard Sweet told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner—and before that deal, they had worked under an expired contract for 14 years. Office workers, represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, have made a counter-offer to the city’s “last, best, and final offer,” according to a statement by union business representative Bob Clay. One key issue, he said, is that the city now covers only 40% of workers’ health costs, while most local governments pay 80%. The Fairbanks Fire Fighters Association recently completed mediation, but has been arguing with the city over staffing. “The Fairbanks Fire Department has been dealing with 30 years of being understaffed, and now we are dealing with double the calls,” union President Scott Raynor said in a statement. “ Read more

September 2, 2018

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