October 27, 2006
The Alaska Correctional Officers Association (ACOA) challenged the State of Alaska's unilateral change in the retirement system on July 1, 2006, and its refusal to bargain the retirement program offered to the Association's members.
At the time of the filing on August 16th Brad Wilson, the Association Business Manager, said, "We tried to work with them through the political process and deal with any problems the PERS system might have. Thy had an ideological agenda, they carried it out, and they pretty much refused to listed to the practical problems they were creating. We are going to use the collective bargaining process to make sure that our members are protected."
The Alaska Labor Relations Agency held "...because retirement benefits can be a mandatory subject of bargaining, at least under federal law, and there is evidence that ACOA asked to bargain and the State refused, I find that the charge..." under the bargaining law..." is supported by probably cause."
The State has fifteen days to respond to the charge and the question may go to a hearing before the Labor Relations Agency as soon as early December. "It is very important that we get a formal order and decision from the Agency, since this questions goes to the right of all public employees in Alaska," said Art Chance, the Correctional Officers' representative in this matter.
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