Ruling says Fairbanks engaged in unfair labor practices

FAIRBANKS — State labor officials have determined that the city of Fairbanks engaged in unfair labor practices in a contract agreement stemming from 2014.

The Alaska Labor Relations Agency board ruled Nov. 24 that the city erred when it voted to reconsider a previously approved contract with the Public Safety Employees Association, which represents dozens of Fairbanks police and emergency dispatch personnel.

The three-year contract included a 10 percent pay raise, a one-time retroactive payment of $1,750 and an additional $250 monthly health contribution for members. Work weeks would also be reduced from 40 to 36 hours a week. Members of more than 10 years would also have their leave increased from 240 to 300 hours per year, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/1l6rpj8).

The City Council voted 4-3 to ratify the contract on Aug. 25, 2014. At the next council meeting, Sept. 8, a majority of council members voted to reconsider the contract. Reconsideration was set for Nov. 3.

The council eventually rejected the contract unanimously, prompting PSEA to file a complaint with the state labor relations board.

Fairbanks officials drafted a contract proposal that would have given union members a 4 percent increase to benefits or wages and eliminate double pay, which sometimes occurs when employees are forced to work overtime. The union rejected the proposal in January.

The board’s ruling determined that Fairbanks did not bargain in good faith and committed an unfair labor practice by striking and ratifying the deal. The city has been ordered to follow through with the contract as previously negotiated.

The City Council has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Alaska Superior Court. It was unclear Monday if the city would appeal.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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