Union organizing update

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

May 11, 2010

Dear University Employee:

Many of you have been asking about the status of the union organizing effort at the University of Alaska. In a nutshell, the deadlines for the union to provide unionization information to UA have come and gone with no action by the union. So at the moment, the organizing effort appears to be stagnant.

At first, two unions competed for UA employees. The university first received ASEA's petition to represent UA's non-exempt, classified employees on Feb. 22, 2010, after ASEA filed the petition with the Alaska Labor Relations Agency (ALRA). A second union, the Alaska Public Employees Association (APEA), also sought to organize UA employees. But as of April 8, 2010, APEA withdrew its petition.

In the union representation process, once a union files a petition, the employer must furnish a roster to the ALRA that contains the names of the individuals in the proposed unit. As a result, UA submitted a roster to ALRA on March 15, 2010. However, ASEA on April 13, 2010, withdrew its first petition and filed a second one seeking to represent both exempt and non-exempt employees.

The ALRA, ASEA and the university met in a conference call on April 26, 2010, to discuss ASEA's revised representation petition and to establish a schedule for exchanging information. The discussion focused on whether ASEA was seeking to represent all temporary UA employees or just a smaller subset of temporary UA employees. If ASEA seeks to represent all temporary employees, the proposed unit would consist of more than 3,000 employees, some of whom work only a couple of weeks per year. Following that conference call, the university provided all of the additional information ASEA requested.

ASEA failed to respond to ALRA's requests to submit its amended unit description; this failure prevents the university from providing a new roster of employees to ALRA. Thus, the unionization process is at a standstill until ASEA decides to provide the required information. The university and its employees are entitled to a fair, efficient and expedient process. To avoid further delay and inconvenience, last week UA asked the ALRA to establish a response deadline for ASEA.

The question of union representation is a serious one, and one in which affected UA employees deserve to know the facts. I will send you more information as it becomes available.

Additional information on union organizing is available on UA's Labor and Employee Relations website, including an FAQ section that is regularly updated: http://www.alaska.edu/labor/union-organizing/index.xml

You may also contact our office at any time with questions you may have: (907) 450-8230.


Beth E. Behner
Chief Human Resources Officer

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