- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The Fairbanks City Council has rejected a proposed three-year contract negotiated with department heads and other City Hall workers.

The Council Monday night voted 4-2 against advancing a proposal to give 42 employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers a 2.5 percent increase in salaries and benefits in 2014 and 2 percent salary increases in 2015 and 2016.

The contract was supported by Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart and IBEW Local 1547 leaders, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/1hsmEqg) reported.

Councilmembers discussed the contract for more than an hour.

Councilman Perry Walley expressed concern that the city would have to dip into savings to pay labor costs. Other unions could seek similar increases, he said.

Jim Soileau, city finance director, said increased property values and other revenue increases likely would cover the labor cost increase. However, he did not have enough confidence in those revenues to include them in written budget projections given to the Council, he said.

Walley voted no and said he could not support the contract without assurance that the city would not have to use savings.

“I personally do not like negotiating one-year contracts, and I think that’s why we went out and said let’s go for the three (year contract),” he said. “But when this comes down, you start looking at it and analyzing it and it could go either way.”

The city this year has ratified contracts with the Fairbanks Firefighters Association and with the AFL-CIO Joint Crafts Unions, which represents employees in the Public Works Department. Besides the IBEW contract, other pending negotiations are with the Public Safety Employees Association, which represent police.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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