Todd Peplow: Taking a stand



My 7-year-old granddaughter was very proud when I became, as she called it, “president of the union hall.”

It is more important to me that my now-12-year-old granddaughter is more proud of the stand I’ve taken than it is for me to continue as union president, although she was upset to hear I was being impeached for using my title “President, Local 71” in support of conservative Dave Bronson for mayor.

The LiUNA (Laborers International Union of North America) constitution states, “the Business Manager is the voice of the Union.” The business manager has unrestricted communications with all 2,500 members. As president, I only have access to the 15 to 20 who show up at a union membership meeting.

Use of my title in a previous op-ed, “Labor is not a partisan issue,” published in multiple newspapers around the state, was not a problem because it fit their narrative. 

The business manager had sole authority when he donated $1,000 to the Forrest Dunbar for Mayor campaign. At the next executive board meeting that authority was rescinded, requiring executive board approval prior to all donation. 

As a retired combat veteran, and as a big supporter of law enforcement, I took an oath “to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” When Dunbar publicly said that our constitutional law is shot through with race, and that he was proud of the “wall of moms” and his sister for participating in the “defund police riots in Portland,” I had to take a stand.

It was a very unpopular stand with all the ultra-liberal union leadership in Alaska. The only thing they care about is total and unquestioned support of union contracts. It doesn’t matter the destructive path a political candidate is on. That is the path Anchorage is currently on. Do we want the homeless defecating on the street corners, protesters destroying our businesses? That is the path Forrest Dunbar and the Anchorage Assembly have us on, to be more like San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle. 

Janus V. AFSCME was a good decision for rank and file working union members. No union boss will admit it, but it forces the public sector unions to be more receptive to the concerns of their membership. I am a working member, part time president, and my recent impeachment and removal from office only serves to increase the power and control of the business manager.

However, because of “Janus,” I can opt out and it doesn’t affect my job, and the union doesn’t control my retirement. Private sector unions can silence their members, since the union controls the retirement and even if and when they work. “Toe the line or you’ll never work.” Will the Local 71 Executive Board be a rubber stamp for the business manager or will the membership take control of their union? 

Local 71 is currently in contract negotiations with the State of Alaska. The business manager’s status reports to members has been abysmal. The first wage proposal from the business manager offered to give up longevity/merit raises, changing from every two years to three years at eight years of service. Then no more longevity raises after 23 years of service while only gaining pennies of the front end and for the current workers.

As president, I was not included in the two meetings the negotiating team had to come up with this terrible proposal. After three months with no response from the State of Alaska, a counter offer was 0%, 1%, and 1% for a 3 year contract.

I was the only one to accuse the State of stalling so a contract wouldn’t get in front of the Legislature this year. An unfair labor practice has a high standard to prove, but when your business manager just rolls over and takes it, he says there is nothing we can do. 

I am proud to have served as president of Local 71 for the last five years. It has been a long hard but futile battle. Members always ask where their dues go. For LTC members, 1⁄2 of your monthly dues goes to the LiUNA, which is spent almost exclusively on electing Democrats.

As a conservative, I see two options, join with other likeminded members, attend every meeting, and demand change or opt out. I’ll be doing the latter and I invite others to opt out with me. I refuse to allow any of my dues to continue to be used on the destructive path this country is on that our union supports. 

Todd Peplow is a lifelong laborer, electrician, and now foreman with conservative values, who has served his country through eight deployments. He is a constitutional rights advocate who supports firearms ownership, free speech, the right of the people to affiliate and assemble, and the right of people not to affiliate with a union. 


  1. When I worked as a medic back east in my twenties, I decided to opt out of the union since I felt it was not working towards improving my position at the time. But then the peer pressure arrived from within the union and various petty complaints (one for checking the oil level in my truck by myself).
    Funny thing unions have grown to be in America these days, basically a super pac for the blue collar worker.

  2. His granddaughter’s personal future will be richer for it because of their family’s grandfather maintained his integrity. Parents don’t realize sinful choices they made, it does come back around to haunt their children’s future. Be best to do right then the children have less difficult life.

  3. Well Todd you are a rare find
    When I was a member of 71 I found the whole union representation to be a complete lack of integrity and honesty
    People like Billy Meers with my future in their hands was a complete waste and joke .
    The reputation of this union will be long term
    Close the door to the sham and allow normal people to have their lives again

  4. Todd as a retired member of Local 71 I am proud of the stand you took and I am sure your granddaughter will be proud of you as well. To many government workers are afraid to say or do anything because they feel they will suffer retaliation from the Union. It is criminal that almost all unions are arms of the liberal Democrats. They leadership is so corrupted by the big money and political favors they can gain they will do anything to support the Democrats. The benefits that you gain as members are not justified by this support. Thank you for taking a stand and it is the members loss that they impeached you. They deserve the poor leadership that they have now.

  5. Watch your back. As I recall Jimmy Hoffa tried to think for himself for a short time and the Bolsheviks quickly cured him of that.
    STEVE STINE, I grew up in a union house and I never saw the union represent the views of the working people other than liberal democrats.

  6. This is excellent, many union members believe the same, no matter what corrupt Vince says. I’m a retired union and have always believed in thinking for myself, which the democrat union “leadership” froun apon. The union leadership is to politically one sided, even when the democrats are killing our jobs.

  7. Unions are cancer and the comments support this statement. Unions are communism lite and are built on the idea that your labor is worth more than it is. Most of you that say they did all of this great stuff are seemingly unaware of history and believe the propaganda. Much like teacher’s unions squeeze their local communities, while providing sub-par education, and police unions protect the bad cops. Most people never actually benefit from the unions and soon you will see what happens when you think they actually care. Look into California and how things work out when a city, state, etc. cannot afford to pay. Unions only benefit the top members, who are often corrupt and you almost never hear union members disagree. Unions are for people that are afraid of bargaining on their own and believe their work is worth more than it is. It is not worth that much, which is why you have to operate closed shops and do non-competes. Unions typically only benefit the bottom 10%, including the leadership. Communism never works out because not everyone works as hard. Sometimes that is why people’s labor is not worth as much. If you cannot clear the same number of units, you should not get paid as much. I also think it is funny how Democrats constantly screw you over and most of you are Republicans, but your unions contribute to Democrats. It is almost like someone is stealing part of your pay to give it to people you hate. Any time I hear “fair share” my communism meter starts to spike, just like the bill that failed last election.

  8. Bless your heart! And your work ethics!
    Granddaughter, should and be proud of you!
    You told a story that should be to told and shared about unions! And life!

    Thank you

  9. There should be no union representation in gov’t jobs. Fox guarding the henhouse, with the taxpayer as the bottomless money pit.
    Thanks for showing how things should be, but won’t, because unions are communist inspired–no joke, look it up, folks.

  10. When I got out of the Army, back in 66, I went to work for Doehler/Jarvis, a division of National Lead, Pottstown, Penn. I was doing final inspection, zinc castings, Memorex reel to reel Hub units.
    There was two men and a woman on swing shift. I worked graveyard shift. They were turning out about 500 or so units per shift, all together. By my second night I was turning out over a thousand units, all by myself. I was producing six times the work.
    It was a union shop. I got canned. Lesson learned … never work in a union shop, if you take pride in your work. That shop was closed forever, a couple years later.

  11. John, unions historically have served a purpose. Back when manufacturing companies were screwing people out of wages, and keeping them in debt with the company store, unions came in an organized people so that they could earn a decent wage and have safe and fair workplaces. You are correct that some unions like teachers unions take advantage. Teachers unions in Alaska have no bargaining power. The benefits that they receive are approved by the superintendent and the school board. You’re giving them way too much credit. Teachers unions propose a whole bunch of items that they would like and sort of a goodie bag proposal, but in the end they have to take but the superintendent provides or pack their bags. That’s the choice that teachers make when they sign a contract and if you don’t want to sign a contract don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  12. Thank you Mr. Peplow. I join your Granddaughter in her pride in you. You made a principled decision, despite understanding the personal consequences toward you. I commend you. If whatever path you take in the Labor movement needs donations to be successful, ;please let us know.

  13. Todd, stand your ground, Good Job.
    You can go to sleep at night, knowing you did the right thing.

  14. Peeps, I always knew you’re one of the greats. Thoroughly devoted to making the world better for others.

  15. “G 2 investments USA Corp Guimaraes
    5/26/2021 at 3:43 PM

    A gun is like a parachute
    If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again.”
    The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.
    Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America:
    1.America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
    2.Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
    3.They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
    4.Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
    5.The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
    6.They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
    These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:
    1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.
    Funny how that works.
    And here’s another one worth considering…
    2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money.
    But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money !
    What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.
    Think about it…..and Last but not least :
    3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.
    Am I the only one missing something?
    “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” – Plato”

  16. @Greg Fortner – Don’t be naive or expect the rest of us to be; the National Extortion Association elects the School Board and appoints the superintendent as well as vetts all the principals in every unionized district in America.

  17. Hmm… I’m not a fan of unions. I applied for a state government job. Down to the last part of the interview, I was told I would have to join the state employees union as a condition of employment. That did not sit well with me. My application was rejected because of my views on start and completion of mission critical tasks (IT work is not a 9 to 5 job, if a network device is not locked down and secured; bad things can happen.). Exhibit A: the cyber attack on the court system and previous attacks on the state of Alaska network along with the Matanuska Borough’s complete network take-down.

    Unions (especially state government unions) are eating into the state budget, therefore eating into our PFD checks. This state needs to go to RIGHT TO WORK.

  18. The unions don’t care about your political stance. All they care about is your money. Don’t create waves and the EVIL continues to grow quietly the dark until it’s too late and all is consumed.

  19. Todd, you are a rare gem. Ever thought about running for US Senate here in Alaska as a Republican? You might be surprised………

  20. This was sent by Peplow to all union members on 3-31-21 in response to many of us voicing that we are considering opting out. And now he completely changes his stance now that the situation affects him directly.

    “It is my honor to serve as President of our Public Employees Local 71 Laborers Union, and I take my duties seriously. You can effect more change from within than just complaining on the sidelines. That’s why I ran for President of your Executive Board. That’s why I am one of the people fighting as hard as we can for you on the contract negotiations teams.

    One thing I am hearing from a few limited but vocal members is, “If I don’t like the contract, I’m going to quit the Union.” That is counterproductive. When management hears that, they know they have the upper hand & don’t have to give you anything we say you need. If we say you need it, but they don’t give it, & you quit, don’t vote, or vote for it, you make me a liar. We fight at the table for your wages, benefits, and working conditions, and it means nothing if the membership doesn’t have our backs.

    Strength in numbers means that the union staff, board, and members are fighting together. When you take away my power at the table and let management know you’re doing it, that’s weakness, not leadership.

    Are you willing to stand up to management, or is the negotiations team standing alone? We have been on the frontlines at the negotiations table pushing the items you have told us you needed. Are we really in this battle together? Will you be the calvary, or are you just a refugee?

    Change your chatter from “If the union doesn’t get it for me, I’ll quit the union” to “If the State doesn’t give it, I won’t approve the contract” and we can win. This is YOUR contract and you’re leaving the Negotiations Team toothless if you’re not telling management, “I won’t approve a contract without these things included.” Our last contract was voted on by 1/3 of the membership.

    EXERCISE YOUR POWER. We are only strong when we stand together, fight against ourselves & they win. Our next Membership Meeting is April 17, it is a Microsoft Teams meeting. Give us your e-mail and join the meeting, be heard.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep fighting for you with the rest of the Local 71 team, and I’ll keep a lookout for those who are fighting with us.

  21. I am confused now as well. I responded supporting his decision before and now he is singing a new tune. One dealt with his being impeached as a President and now as a negotiating team member. Looks like Union Management got to him to change his position. Same old Union politics at work. Sing our song or suffer the consequences. Too bad because you need a strong contract and good pay so you have to support a political party with your money that you don’t support by your beliefs. You can opt out of a small portion of your dues but they will use the rest to elect the Socialist Democrats and you will give up your support and positions with the Union.

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