Alaska Public Employee Assn asks union members to sign recall petition - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, January 27, 2022
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Alaska Public Employee Assn asks union members to sign recall petition

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Revenge is a dish best served cold, the saying goes.

The Alaska Public Employees Association, still upset over the Dunleavy Administration’s decision to not force people to pay union dues, is serving filet of revenge to its members this week.

In a letter to public work forces around the state, the APEA Board of Directors asked the public employees — the Alaskans who have actual paying jobs — to not only sign the recall petition, but to commit to voting against Gov. Mike Dunleavy, if the measure ever makes it to a ballot.

“…he has directly attacked our union with his indefensible interpretation of the U.S Supreme Court Janus decision,” the union wrote to state employees in an email this week.

“The court decision tries to drive a wedge between workers and their unions by eliminating automatic registration in public employee unions and is an unprecedented attack on our organization,” APEA wrote.

Actually, the interpretation of the Janus rule is defensible, but that takes political courage. If Dunleavy survives his term in office, this interpretation of Janus could be defended all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Dunleavy Administration doesn’t think it’s legal, under the Supreme Court’s earlier Janus ruling, to force public employees to pay union dues, and instead says that workers must be provided true freedom to enroll or not enroll as a dues-paying member of a union. Attorney General Kevin Clarkson says that the State of Alaska isn’t going to be part of a system that coerces people into having their dues deducted by the State and sent to the union without the employees’ express consent.

The public employee union is striking back.

“In our work, we strive for professionalism and impartiality as we work in the best interest of the public. However, we are also Alaskans and this governor’s failures and the moment we find ourselves in calls for bold action. We have determined that recalling Governor Dunleavy is the best option for Alaska’s future,” the group wrote.

The recall committee says that COVID-19 has hampered its efforts in collecting signatures, but the public employee union has tens of thousands of possible names that could be harvested. Workers at the State of Alaska, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Anchorage School District, Cities of Seward, Bethel, Nome, Petersburg, and boroughs of Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Kenai, Mat-Su, numerous school districts around the state and many employees of the University of Alaska system received the union memo.

To get the recall on the ballot Alaskans need to turn in at least 71,252 signatures by July 3, the group wrote. The Recall Dunleavy Committee is believed to have nearly 40,000 signatures.

The group has just 14 days to collect more than 31,000 valid signatures. This amounts to needing in excess of 2,200 signatures per day for the next two weeks.

The only realistic place to get that many signatures is in the rank and file of the publicly funded workforce.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thanks Governor Dunleavy for getting out an early PFD in July. All of us APEA members can use the money now, rather than in October. And no, I am not signing the recall petition and I encourage my fellow APEA members
    NOT to sign.

    • I’m a member of APEA too. I hardly ever vote the way the union boss directs us towards. I vote the opposite and flip her the bird.

  • ?So many questions?
    Is this legal? Since when can an American be forced to vote for a candidate not of their choice? Can anyone signing this petition be legally fired?
    I have more questions but am taken aback by the letter in the first place.

    • Agree!

    • A large portion of union dues paid goes to support political candidates friendly to union interests. It is always the case that union members are encouraged to vote a specific way and the same would be true in a recall attempt.

      The union agenda is to vote in candidates most likely to further the union’s interests and the opposite would be true as well.

      Your police? They’re told how to vote as are every other dues paying wage earner.

  • This smacks of desperation. The recall effort has apparently stalled in their collection of signatures and is now grasping at straws.

  • Taxation without representation.

  • Lets recall all union members.

  • I am a retired union member but believe that all employees should have a right to choose if they want to join a union. If the union serves a useful purpose and being a member is a benefit to the employee than they should want to join. Not be forced. If the union wants dues they should bill you and collect and not have government employees and equipment do it.

    I was appalled when I in processed as a new employee and was told I had to sign up as a member or be fired. It was mandatory and they would take the dues out of my paycheck every pay period. This seemed to be forced graft to benefit the union that I knew little about other than I didn’t support their funding of Democrats and public knowledge of the stealing from pension funds and corruption.

    I still do not support their political activities and believe that alone should prevent them from requiring mandatory membership and forced employer collection of dues. I know that eventually a court decision forced them to collect only an agency fee so employees were not forced to fund Democrats unless they wanted to. The unions didn’t like that decision and would not in any way assist an employee that wanted a portion of the dues to stop.

    Union members should stay out of this ridiculous recall effort and continue to work without being politically partisan. If you believe as a resident that the Governor should be recalled then sign the petition but not because your union boss tells you what to do. If the union is right and the Governor is wrong they should resolve it through the courts not ask you to betray the man that signs your checks.

    When so many were forced into unemployment and financial hardship how many public employees were without their pay and benefits. The Governor could have laid most of you off without pay or insurance and most of the public would have supported him. The Union didn’t save your jobs they sued the Governor of working conditions and lost. Do you trust following your union boss who was wrong and spent your dues loosing the case.

    Governor Dunleavy has done an excellent job since elected. It has been the legislature that has screwed this State by not balancing the budget and funding everything beyond our means for years. Dunleavy is the first Governor that has tried to stop the legislature’s abuse. Where were they when your business was closed or you were unemployed. The Governor had to force them to return to Juneau long enough to stop delaying and fighting over the Federal money to help you.

    The legislature still cut your PFD as they have before. Did nothing to pay the reduced PFD to you early or even meet to discuss how to help Alaskans during this crisis. The Governor is paying you early on the first available day possible because the legislature refused to help you.

    If anyone needs to be recalled it is the leadership of the legislature and their submissive puppets. Hopefully November will see most of them unemployed.

    • Phil,
      I agree almost 100% with your comment. I can even agree with the arguement of “forced” unionization. My only thought is that if someone does not want to be in the union, then they should not benefit from the contract negotiated by that union. They should have to negotiate their own working conditions and salaries.
      That being said, I enjoyed your comment as I feel it was well thought and well presented. I am a union member, but I am not a sheep. I will ALWAYS vote as I see fit, not as my union suggests I vote.
      I am at ease with what my dues are used for as I know the union I am in cannot use them for political agendas. They do a totally separate and voluntary program to raise monies for political support.

  • This says more about where the union’s bread is buttered than anything else. Public “employees” should not be allowed to take a political position against any duly elected official. Seems, though, the “public” employees have decided to “give their all” to the leftist efforts to unseat our duly elected Governor. Why would that be? Maybe it’s because of the danger of a ‘balanced budget’ to the ongoing fleecing of Alaska by those very same “employees” and their cohorts, the democrat socialists. Time for real change is coming in Alaska. If these “public” leeches aren’t brought under control, might as well throw in the towel. Won’t be long before there is nothing left to worry about in Alaska. I really don’t want to give up Alaska to these socialist parasites. I am worried that, if conservatives do not step up and vote, the history of the Alaska I have known will be burning on the bonfire of leftist socialism, with nothing left for the good citizens, Alaskan Americans. Are we really going to let that happen?
    Please remember in November. Take a good look at Anchorage under leftist domination. Is that what is in front of us as a state, too?
    See a sales tax in the near future, Anchorage?

  • Does their letter even address the issues that the recall is about? If not then they are telling their members to vote in bad faith. This recall is only about the issues that would be on the ballot if they collect the required number of signatures. It has nothing to do with Janus

  • This is how Ms. Jennifer Johnston continues to stay in power. Moreover, the time has arrived for “conservative” voters to get off their — and vote your families and Alaska’s future for you children.

  • And once upon a time, APEA was the sane white collar public employee union, at least after they stopped representing the General Government Unit of State employees. I never feared any State union across a bargaining table or in a hearing room, but I certainly feared them on election day. They’ve pretty much all, at least all except some of the law enforcement and corrections units, become socialist workers’ parties whose only real interest is politics.

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