Seward voters have opted into Alaska’s Public Employment Relations Act with a vote of 164 to 122. The vote total was confirmed after a canvassing meeting Thursday afternoon.
Voters in the special election voted “yes” to Referendum No. 1, which repeals a 1975 ordinance rejecting PERA. Now that Seward has opted into the act, the decision is irreversible.
The act is intended to protect organizing and bargaining rights of public employees, unions and employers, according to the Alaska Labor Relations Agency, the agency responsible for implementing the act.
The agency will now oversee the organization of public employees in the city, but doesn’t impact the relationship between the city and employees outside of organizing and bargaining.
The act will dictate union relation policy in Seward and the agency will handle any complaints or disputes that arise related to organizing activity.
The agency doesn’t enforce any other federal and state laws, including acts and statutes about fair labor, wage, hours and equal employment.
The voting results will not be official until accepted by the Seward City Council at their next meeting scheduled for March 26 at 7 p.m.