It’s another push for the Municipality of Anchorage and Anchorage Water and Wastewater union workers to come back to the bargaining table.
The Anchorage Assembly passed a resolution in a special Wednesday Assembly meeting to encourage talks for a labor agreement and to clarify guidelines for contract negotiations between the city and the union.
The current guideline the city follows was set in 2010. It states raises should not exceed the five year average consumer price index. Some Assembly members say some points need to be more specific.
“The clarifications we needed that because some people were trying to say wages and the benefits were in adjustment with the C.P.I., instead of just wages in the C.P.I,” said Assembly member Dick Traini. “So I think there was more money that the administration could have put in, in negotiations.”
A.W.W.U. union workers want more money in their new contract. They said their wages are not competitive. But Mayor Dan Sullivan insisted his last offer was fair. He said the negotiation guideline states a maximum wage increase amount that the city cannot exceed. He adds it can, though, be below that amount.
“We're clearly aware as an administration that we can go up to that amount but we successfully negotiated contracts over the last year with two different unions when we were actually below that amount,” said Sullivan. “So having had those successful negotiations, that was a similar offer we made to Plumbers and Pipefitters.”
The Assembly voted 9-to-1 in favor of the resolution to encourage the two parties to reconsider and come back to the bargaining table.The impasse between the A.W.W.U. workers with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union and the city goes back 18 months. The city gave its last best offer and the union said that it wasn’t good enough. Last week, workers threatened to strike.
But a judge stepped in and in a preliminary injunction ordered workers back to work.
Both the city and union said they are willing to talk, but if no deal is reached, a judge will rule on a solution on November 10.