Sullivan administration agrees to new contract with 150-member engineers union

Nathaniel Herz

The Sullivan administration has reached a deal on a three-year contract with the 145-member local branch of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

The union, which represents equipment operators for the city's garbage collection utility and street maintenance division, will get 1.5 percent raises in 2014 and 2015, and a 2 percent increase in 2016, according to documents submitted by the Sullivan administration to the Assembly this week.

The city will also add 12.5 percent to its monthly contribution to the engineers' health plan, which the union administers itself. Those contributions will rise from $1,116 to $1,256, which is still significantly below the rate that the Sullivan administration has been offering other unions in negotiations this year. Other unions have been participating in a city-run plan, however.

The engineers ratified the deal in a vote on Nov. 18, and it must now be approved by the Anchorage Assembly.

Jason Alward, the president of the union, said that the contract was presented to his members without the endorsement of leadership, and that the vote was close.

He said negotiations began in March, and he estimated that the union "probably spent 300 hours at the negotiating table."

The terms of the deal are similar to others recently reached by the Sullivan administration, including those with the city's largest union, the 525-member Anchorage Municipal Employees Association, as well as a much smaller union of mechanics represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Both of those groups received 1.5 percent raises -- for a one-year extension for the mechanics, and for two consecutive years for the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.