Oral arguments for city labor ordinance in Supreme Court


by Your Alaska Link News Team
by Victoria Taylor

ANCHORAGE-Attorneys for the city of Anchorage and city labor unions have asked Alaska Supreme Court justices for a decision by early February on whether a labor law approved last year can be the subject of a public referendum.
Five justices Wednesday heard arguments but made no promises to decide the case in time for putting the referendum on the April election ballot.
The law approved in March limits raises to the rate of inflation plus 1 percent, eliminates binding arbitration and and restricts unions' right to strike.
Attorney Michael Gatti argued for the city that referendums should not be held on laws that affect city finances. He also contends that the labor law is too technical for voters to consider. He says they are "incredibly complex."

Gatti also argues, voters have already put their trust into Assembly members to make decisions.

Public Defender Susan Orlansky says, "the public has proven they are competent to make a decision they support, if they could vote on the issue."

An Early February decision could have the referendum on ballots for the April Municipality elections.

Associated Press contributed to portions of this story.

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