City clerk says labor law referendum can go ahead

Nathaniel Herz

The union group working to repeal the city's new labor relations law has gathered a sufficient number of signatures to place the measure before voters in a referendum, Anchorage's municipal clerk said Thursday.

The unions said last week that they had turned in more than 22,000 signatures, far more than the 7,124 needed to get the law before voters. But the signatures still had to be certified by the municipal clerk.

Deputy Clerk for Elections Amanda Moser said that her office had not verified all of the signatures, but had counted "a nice little cushion" above the 7,124.

It's unclear, however, when the issue will actually appear on a ballot. The city charter says that the referendum should take place within 75 days, but it also allows the Anchorage assembly to move to postpone a vote to a later date.

Assembly members are proposing competing election dates. One group, which opposes the labor law, is pushing for a vote in April. Another group, which supports the law, prefers to schedule the vote for a later date in 2014, which they say would maximize turnout and allow the Alaska Supreme Court to rule on an appeal that the city filed that could declare a referendum invalid.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.