Posts tagged Alaska

    Commentary: Teachers Union Head Mystified by Increase in Homeschooling

    November 19, 2023 // Parents started seeking accountability on their own terms, at home. The surge in homeschooling during the 2020 school year has not dropped off, attracting enthusiasts from diverse racial and income backgrounds. While there are many reasons for the shift, a significant factor is leaders like Weingarten left a vacuum parents had to fill. When they did, parents learned they could do it without the leaders who left them in the lurch. Their kids' education could be flexible and tailored, without the constraint of having to sit at a desk between four walls for seven hours a day. Parents learned they had the power to fix some of the problems the pandemic posed.

    Graduate Student Workers Vote “Yes” To Unionize

    November 9, 2023 // More than 72% of all UA graduate workers participated in the vote. The final tally was 314 to 11 in favor: over 96% “yes” votes. The next step will be to begin negotiating a contract between AGWA and UAF administration. Hopefully this will be quick, but contract negotiations are not known to be a speedy process.

    U.S. Supreme Court will consider taking up Alaska union dues case no sooner than December

    November 8, 2023 // Politically conservative organizations, including the Buckeye Institute, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and the Goldwater Institute, have submitted documents in support of the state’s case. Those organizations, plus the state of Kansas (which also submitted documents in support of Alaska) are hoping that the Supreme Court will reinterpret its 2018 case and effectively put new restrictions on public employee unions. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that unions could not automatically collect so-called “fair share” fees from workers who benefited from union contracts but declined to formally join a union.

    Opinion: Say it again, Supremes: Forced union dues in government are illegal

    November 3, 2023 // Far from making sure that employees “clearly and affirmatively consent” before union fees are deducted from their pay, these states — under pressure from mobilized unions — deny them any independent workplace source of information about their right to refuse. Often new hires are simply given a dues-withdrawal form to sign along with all the other first-day paperwork. When disgruntled dues-payers later learn of their rights and seek to withdraw their agreement, they are routinely confronted with confusing rules intended to make it almost impossible to stop paying. The Freedom Foundation, a workers’ rights education and litigation institute, documents dozens of such cases in a recent Supreme Court filing.

    Liberty Justice Center Defends Janus Rights in Alaska

    October 6, 2023 // In the years since the Supreme Court issued its ruling, multiple states have passed laws to make it more difficult for employees to know and exercise their rights under Janus. In addition, multiple lower courts have refused to enforce the “affirmative consent” requirements set forth by the Supreme Court when employees have sought to enforce their Janusrights by alleging that they did not consent to pay unions freely or knowingly. “Unions have convinced states, government employers, and the lower courts to ignore one of the most important parts of the Janus decision,” said Liberty Justice Center Senior Counsel Jeffrey Schwab. “The Supreme Court must intervene and make clear that it meant what it said in Janus—workers must be fully informed of their rights before the union can claim any of their paycheck.” In their amicus brief, Mark Janus, the Liberty Justice Center, and the Illinois Policy Institute urge the Supreme Court to hear Alaska v. Alaska Employees Association and affirm that the Court’s ruling in Janus means that money cannot be withheld from employees on behalf of unions unless and until the government has clear evidence of the employees’ free and knowing consent.


    October 3, 2023 // Unfortunately, lower courts — including the Alaska Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — have been reluctant to hold either states or unions to that standard. If the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, it will effectively be asked to specifically apply to public employers the majority opinion issued just five years ago in Janus. If the court rejects the petition, the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision will stand. But even if the court takes up the case, a decision isn’t likely before winter. Most likely, months or years of written and oral arguments could be forthcoming. “Unless you agree to enforce it, even a landmark ruling like Janus is just a piece of paper,” Stahlfeld said. “Because unions and activist judges have been allowed to act as if Janus never happened, states like Alaska that want to comply with the ruling have been obliged to adopt legislation reinforcing what should have happened all along.”

    The Supreme Court’s Janus v. Afscme Sequel?

    August 25, 2023 // Alaska’s courts have blocked Mr. Dunleavy’s plan from taking effect. In a May ruling, the state Supreme Court said that “neither Janus nor the First Amendment required the State to alter the union member dues deduction practices set out in the collective bargaining agreement.” This is a crabbed view of free speech and free association. Although Janus involved a union nonmember, Alaska tells the U.S. Supreme Court in its petition that “the decision applies to all involuntary fees and has clear application to members and nonmembers alike.” Consider the devious policies that make canceling a paycheck deduction into a “byzantine process,” Alaska says. In California, “certain public employees cannot stop their dues unless the union receives a signed revocation letter ‘postmarked’ precisely ‘between 75 days and 45 days before’ the employee’s ‘annual renewal date.’” The point is to trap workers and keep that dues money coming. The authorization form for the Alaska State Employees Association was even stricter, making union dues irrevocable except during a magical 10-day window each year, though the petition says the union eventually promised not to enforce it after the state sued.

    Peltola urges pizza workers in Alaska to unionize so she can have a slice

    July 19, 2023 // It may cost Alaskans more, however, to share a pizza with Peltola. Currently, a line cook at Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage starts at $16 an hour. No experience is needed, and it comes with an array of benefits, such as a 401(k) matching retirement plan, health and dental insurance, vision insurance employee discount on food, paid time off, and an energetic working environment. A sous chef at the Bear Tooth Grill, a sister establishment, gets paid $22 to $27 an hour. No degree is required, but two years of restaurant experience is requested. The average cost of a pizza nationally is $17.81, but in Alaska, that same pizza is going for $21.74, a 22% increase in cost for Alaskans over their fellow pizza eaters in the Lower 48.

    Union and Alaska Army Posts Resolve Differences Over Official Time and Illegal Contract, But Other Fights Remain

    May 22, 2023 // Management at three U.S. Army installations in Alaska this month agreed to unwind the unilateral imposition of Trump-era caps on official time as well as an entirely new contract for a pair of union locals representing civilian workers at the forts. But labor leaders bemoaned continued resistance to implementing President Biden’s executive orders rescinding Trump-era labor policies and mandating federal agencies establish a collaborative relationship with their unions.