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ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 filed a class-action grievance Tuesday against Governor Walker and his Administration on behalf of Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities construction design employees, whose duties will be privatized under Gov. Walker’s proposed FY2018 Operating Budget.
In addition to cutting hundreds of positions to bridge Alaska’s fiscal gap, Governor Walker’s budget includes plans to privatize construction design work in the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities without performing a feasibility study or providing an opportunity for the Union to submit alternate proposals to retain State employees, as is required under the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated by the State of Alaska and ASEA.
“That is a clear violation of the ASEA contract, and we don’t intend to stand by and let that go unchallenged,” said Jim Duncan, Executive Director of the Alaska State Employees Association.
As the FY2018 operating budget’s own narrative explains, “There are 11 Department of Transportation components with design staff. Among the 11 components there are 76 design position eliminations in this budget.” The Governor’s proposed budget overview reveals that job losses will continue with “up to 300 more to follow in future budgets.”
“Governor Walker has made the decision to reduce the number of State employees doing this work and move the money to bolster the private-sector economy. That’s a clear statement to me that the decision has been made,” Duncan said. “He’s clearly violated the requirement in our contract that feasibility studies need to be done before the decision has been made.
“Article 13 of the ASEA Contract clearly states that the employer has the right to identify cost savings opportunities or methods to improve services. However, the Governor’s budget doesn’t reference either of these. Instead, the justification is to move public funds to bolster the private sector by privatizing the jobs of many hard-working State employees,” Duncan said. “It is clear that this is not a cost reduction or efficiency approach-in fact, it has been shown that in most cases shifting to the private sector increases overall costs.”
ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 represents more than 8,000 state and municipal employees across Alaska.