- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage voters will wait until November to decide whether an Anchorage law affecting the right to strike for municipal employees will take effect.

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday voted 6-5 to schedule the referendum for Nov. 4, bypassing the opportunity to put the measure before voters in April, KSKA-FM (https://bit.ly/1cv3GBl ) reported.

The measure championed by Mayor Dan Sullivan limits municipal employees’ right to strike. The law also limits raises to the rate of inflation plus 1 percent and eliminates binding arbitration. It will affect more than 2,000 employees.

The assembly approved the law in March over the protest of labor groups, which moved quickly to collect signatures for a referendum to overturn the measure.

The city challenged the referendum effort and lost in both the Superior and Supreme courts.

The assembly originally voted to set the vote for the April municipal election. Sullivan vetoed that date.

Critics said a delay in the vote was a tactic to slow down momentum for the repeal.

Some assembly members said Tuesday the city charter required a vote on the referendum within 75 days of the most recent court decision. Assemblyman Dick Traini called the vote Tuesday a mistake.

“The six that decided to ignore the 22,000 people that requested the vote on AO-37,” he said. “You know when those people signed their names they anticipated voting expeditiously on that thing. And you know it’s not going to help the people that want to keep AO-37 because those 22,000 people are going to grow. In November they will repeal that critter.”

Assembly members in favor of the November date said voter turnout would be higher.

Chris Birch, Jennifer Johnston, Ernie Hall, Adam Trombley, Amy Demboski, and Bill Starr voted for the later date.

Traini and Tim Steele, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Paul Honeman, and Patrick Flynn opposed the November date.

The law has been suspended pending results of the referendum.


Information from: KSKA-FM, https://www.kska.org



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