Governor Walker Restores Alaska Hire Requirements
Determination will require 90% Alaska Hire on public projects
June 12, 2015
“Alaskans know how to build infrastructure, and state funding for public projects should employ Alaskans first,” Governor Walker said. “With this Alaska Hire determination, we are restoring a long-standing, non-partisan policy that puts Alaskans to work on important infrastructure projects.”
A series of Independent, Republican, and Democratic governors established and maintained Alaska Hire requirements for public projects until the program was terminated in 2013. The Alaska Legislature established clear standards under which Alaska Hire requirements must apply in Alaska Statutes 36.10.140 and 36.10.150. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Research & Analysis Section economic data reveals that Alaska currently meets those conditions.
Alaska Hire requirements apply to a wide range of occupations such as equipment operators, surveyors, truck drivers, welders, laborers, mechanics, engineers and architects. If contractors are unable to locate Alaskans who are trained to complete a job, they must obtain a waiver before hiring non-residents. Workers or contractors with questions about Alaska Hire requirements should contact the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Wage and Hour office at (907) 269-4900.
“It’s unfortunate that Alaska’s unemployment numbers have spiked under this governor so much that he has had to declare Alaska an actual ‘zone of underemployment,’ ” said party Vice Chairman Frank McQueary.
“During the previous Republican administration, the unemployment rate was well below the national average for four years. But just six months into a Democrat administration, the state has slipped backward into what the governor is seeing as current and future chronic unemployment,” McQueary said.
According to the Alaska Republican Party press release, the actual effect of declaring it a zone of underemployment is minor. Public works jobs that have zero federal dollars attached will now have an Alaska hire preference, with exceptions. But, in fact, fewer than 10 percent of all public construction jobs in Alaska are in this category.
The statute that governs the designation (S 36.10.150) mandates the state must have substantially higher rates of unemployment than the national average according to the Alaska Republican Party.
“We understand the governor’s action to be symbolic, and that he has declared the designation pre-emptively because he believes unemployment will continue to grow in Alaska,” McQueary said. “This may have populist appeal from the Alaska-hire standpoint, but it shows the governor lacks confidence in our state’s economy. It didn’t help that he put major construction projects, such as Juneau Access and Knik Arm Crossing, on ice in December, and has failed to move the gas line forward. What message does that send to construction workers?”
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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