Fire station

The Kodiak Fire Department voted against representation

Two city departments late last month said no to union representation in separate elections by secret ballot.

Teamsters Local 959 earlier this year filed petitions with the state seeking to represent the Kodiak Police Department and Kodiak Public Works Department as separate collective bargaining units. 

Last year, Teamsters spent thousands on an advertising campaign asking city residents to vote yes on a ballot proposition that would end the city’s exemption from the Alaska Public Employment Relations Act. That initiative ultimately passed by just 18 votes, granting unionization rights to city employees.

Under PERA, the Alaska Labor Relations Agency will conduct an election by secret ballot once a union can demonstrate that at least 30 percent of a bargaining unit would like representation by that union. 

The Teamsters union was able to garner enough interest within the two departments for the agency to schedule elections. 

The police department election occurred on Aug. 23, with nine people in favor of representation by the Teamsters and 25 against union representation, according to Tiffany Thomas, hearing officer with the Labor Relations Agency. 

The public works election occurred on Aug. 24, with eight people in favor of Teamsters representation and 11 voting against union representation, Thomas said. 

The two departments will be unable to make another attempt at unionization until next August, as state statute prohibits elections within a bargaining unit “if a valid election has been held within the preceding 12 months.”

A different union seeking to represent the Kodiak Fire Department has also filed a petition with the state. Fire department employees will be able to choose between no representation and representation by the International Association of Firefighters. Those votes will be tallied on Sept. 27, Thomas said. 

 

Snoderly can be reached at (907) 512-2624. Follow her on Twitter, @KDMjoann

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