Anchorage Assembly expected to make decision on labor law Tuesday

Devin Kelly

The Anchorage Assembly is expected to decide at its Tuesday night meeting whether to repeal the city’s divisive labor law, known as AO-37, and replace it with a version proposed by Assembly member Jennifer Johnston.

Referred to by labor leaders as "AO-37 lite," Johnston's measure omits certain provisions in the original law, like eliminating unions’ right to strike. Union representatives have agreed to all but three of Johnston's changes, and have proposed amendments to elements of Johnston's measure relating to management rights and eligibility for collective bargaining. 

If those three amendments pass, Johnston said she plans to move to postpone her measure indefinitely.

“If (the measure) gets amended, and legislative intent is changed, then I won’t be able to vote for it,” Johnston said in a phone interview Tuesday.

If the Assembly takes no action to repeal or replace AO-37, the law will be put to voters on the November general election ballot.

Representatives of each of the public employees' unions will be present at the meeting Tuesday, said Gerard Asselin, president of the Anchorage Coalition of Unions. On Facebook, the Anchorage Education Association and Alaska Workers’ Voice urged union members and labor advocates to turn out.

Mayor Dan Sullivan, who spearheaded AO-37, will have veto power over an Assembly vote to do away with the labor law. As of Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Sullivan had not responded to a request for comment from the mayor.

It takes eight Assembly votes to override a mayoral veto.