Mayor Sullivan Responds to City Unions’ Rejection of 37.5-hour work week
Cost-saving measure was designed to minimize future staff reductions
9/22/2009 | Contact: Sarah Erkmann, (907) 343-7103
Mayor Dan Sullivan today acknowledged the city unions’ rejection of his 37.5- hour work week proposal. The mayor’s offer was a partial solution to offsetting dramatically increasing costs associated with paying the city’s current employees under the terms of the union contracts approved last year.
“I proposed the 37.5-hour work week for three reasons: save the city money in an efficient way; minimize staff reductions; and maintain base wage rates,” said Mayor Sullivan. “Reducing the work week by 2.5 hours a week would have been relatively easy to implement and apply to employees who don’t work a 24/7 shift,” he said.
In addition to the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association’s (AMEA) formal vote yesterday, the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union and the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association (APDEA) also recently decided not to participate in the shortened work week.
The mayor met with representatives from the city’s unions last month and asked them to consider a reduced work week in order to minimize potential layoffs. The suggestion came from a city employee as well as through the Tax $avers program, and was believed to be a manageable way to share budget reductions equally among the groups.
The move was estimated to save the municipality $6.7-9.7 million each year. Mayor Sullivan continues to encourage unions to submit ideas for contract concessions that will provide real, recurring savings and will not add to the long-term cost of the contract.
“The Municipality will have to pay the price over the next four years for the skyrocketing costs associated with the recent labor contracts approved by the Assembly and the former administration,” said Sullivan. “We will have to balance the budget somewhere else, most likely staff and service reductions,” he said.
Estimates for 2010 revenue shortfalls range between $10-54 million. Budget discussions have been underway with the city’s departments for weeks, with each department head identifying suggestions for potential reductions.
The administration submits its proposed budget to the Assembly by