AD Main Menu

Assembly to consider measures affecting labor law

Nathaniel Herz

The Anchorage Assembly will consider several measures at its Tuesday evening meeting that could affect the fate of the controversial labor law spearheaded by Mayor Dan Sullivan.

The law, which passed the Assembly by a 6 to 5 vote in March, has been the subject of a referendum campaign by Anchorage's municipal unions, which oppose it. At Tuesday's meeting, Assembly members will consider when to schedule the referendum -- either at the city's April election, or another election as late as 2015.

The unions, and their supporters on the Assembly, want to vote in April, while members aligned with Sullivan prefer the later options.

Members will also consider a move by Assemblyman Dick Traini to repeal the labor law altogether. That measure appears to have the support of the majority of the Assembly, after Bill Starr, who backed the original law, said at the last meeting that he had switched his position.

It's unclear, however, whether the Assembly would override a veto from Sullivan, which would need eight votes.

It's also unclear how, exactly, the meeting will play out. The measures affecting the date of the referendum are above the repeal on the agenda, but it's likely that the Assembly will re-order the meeting to consider the repeal first, said Chair Ernie Hall.

If the repeal is approved, that would give Sullivan seven days to veto it, Hall said in an interview. And if Sullivan doesn't veto the measure on the spot, that could result in a two-week delay of the Assembly's consideration of the referendum dates.

The scenarios are varied and complicated -- Hall said he anticipates "shenanigans" from other members.

"I wish we had the guy who wrote Roberts Rules there," he said, referring to the text that governs procedures for the meeting.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.