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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ASEA MEMBERS REGARDING A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WITHOUT A STATE OPERATING BUDGET ON JULY 1, 2017

Dear GGU members,

Finally the State House and State Senate are moving toward an agreement on a FY2018 operating budget.

Yesterday substantial progress was made by the House and Senate Conference Committee that is negotiating the FY2018. The leadership in both bodies, House Speaker and Finance Committee Co-Chair and the Senate President and Finance Committee Co-chair, have all made public statements that a deal on the budget is imminent and they should have budget voted on and adopted soon. That is great news for all State of Alaska employees and also the private sector in Alaska.

This confirms what I was told in my recent conversations with the Legislative leadership and many members of the House and Senate majority; they realize how devastating to the State it would be if there was a government shutdown. Based on my past experience in the legislative process, I also know that “glitches and small bumps in the road” can always occur--however, it is apparent the “logjam” has broken and the legislature is committed to getting an operating budget adopted to avoid a government shutdown.

I do know how unsettling the past month has been for all of you. Thank you for your patience during this difficult period. I will keep you updated as the process proceeds during the next few days.

Jim Duncan
Executive Director

Dear GGU Member,

For the past week we have been conducting numerous worksite meetings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau to answer questions regarding a possible government shutdown on July 1. One of the most frequently asked question is “How will the essential positions that will be required to work be identified and which positons will be determined to be essential of if there is a shutdown”?

The State Administration has the responsibility of determining which positions are essential and will be asked to work without a FY 2018 budget that appropriates the funds for the positions. The Department of Law has conducted a shutdown analysis of the government programs and services that can legally continue at partial or complete funding levels if a shutdown occurs because no budget has been passed. You can view their analysis by clicking on the following link:

http://www.law.state.ak.us/pdf/press/170608-LAW-Shutdown-factsheet.pdf

Note that the last paragraph in the fact sheet states that the Department of Law is working with the Office of Management and Budget and each department to evaluate their programs and services. They are going through a process to determine which positions might meet each of the criteria.

I was informed today by the Division of Personnel that a list of the “essential” positions in each department has not been completed at this time. Therefore, it is not possible for us to tell you which positions will continue to work if a shutdown occurs. As soon as I am provided with a list of the essential positions I will send an email to inform you that it has been posted on our website.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Jim Duncan
Executive Director

Dear ASEA Member,

As you may be aware, last evening the State House of Representatives inserted their version of the FY2018 Operating Budget into the Capital Budget bill and passed it. They then adjourned from the 1st special session. That action left the State Senate with the option of accepting the House version of the budget or adjourning from the 1st special session. It was not a surprise that the Senate chose to adjourn and a budget for FY2018 wasn’t enacted.

Based on this action the Governor immediately issued a Proclamation calling the Legislature into a 2nd special session beginning at 1:00 pm today. The following link will take you to the Governor’s proclamation for a 2nd special session: https://gov.alaska.gov/newsroom/2017/06/governor-walker-calls-alaska-legislature-into-special-session-to-avoid-government-shutdown/

The Governor, recognizing the importance of ensuring government services will continue after July 1, limited the focus of the special session to adopting an operating budget for FY2018. I believe the Governor made the right decision in limiting the topics that will be considered by the Legislature and this will result in an Operating Budget being adopted and will avoid a government shutdown on July 1.

I have received messages from many members concerned about how they will be affected by a number of issues if a shutdown should occur.  Be assured that I am in contact with the Administration regarding issues that need to be addressed if a shutdown should actually happen. Appropriate and necessary action to protect all members will be taken when it becomes obvious that a FY 2018 budget won’t be adopted in time to avoid a shutdown on July 1.

I realize how unsettling it is to you that the Legislature hasn’t done their job to pass a budget for FY2018. However, I do remain confident that the Legislature will reach an agreement and adopt a FY2018 budget prior to July 1.

Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns or questions.

Jim Duncan
Executive Director

Dear ASEA Members,

I have received inquiries from members regarding a possible “shutdown” of State Government on July 1, 2017 if a FY2018 Budget hasn’t been passed by the Alaska Legislature and signed by Governor Walker. I am writing now as rumors are circulating and news articles are being written that a “shutdown” may occur and I know this causes a lot of uncertainty and concern for you as a State employee.

I do think it is very unlikely, almost impossible, for the Alaska Legislature to pass a budget and the Governor sign it prior to June 1 even though the Governor immediately called the Legislature into a special session after they adjourned from the extended regular session. The Governor did include HB 57 on his special session call, which contains the budgets passed by both the House and Senate during the regular session. This allows the Legislature to continue their Conference Committee deliberations on HB 57, the FY2018 operating budget, in an attempt to resolve the difference in the House and Senate budgets and bring a budget to the floor of both the House and Senate for a final vote. By including HB 57 in the call, the Governor avoided the necessity of the House and Senate again passing individual budgets and therefore shortened the amount of time necessary to pass a final budget.

However, the Conference Committee on the budget has not held a formal meeting since the Special Session convened. Also, neither the House nor Senate have had a formal floor session to consider any substantive legislation to address the FY2018 Budget. The House did schedule a ‘technical’ session for today but no business was conducted. According to their rules, they have to meet once every 3 days during any regular or special session. But a ‘technical’ session can be conducted with only 3 members present. The House and Senate have sessions scheduled for Tuesday, May 30 and could conduct business at those sessions. But for the House and Senate to consider HB 57, the operating budget, at the May 30 sessions, the Conference Committee would have had to meet, resolve the differences between the House and Senate budgets, and report it to the Rules Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the entire body. At this time, they have not scheduled a Conference Committee meeting prior to the House and Senate meeting in full session on May 30.

As a result of this inaction by the Legislature, I have been informed by the State Administration that you should expect to receive a letter on Tuesday, May 30 giving notice of layoff on July 1, 2017 if a FY2018 budget is not passed and signed prior to July 1. Article 12.04 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) provides that the appointing authority shall make every effort to give written notice to the employee at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the effective date of the layoff. I am sure you recall that 2 years ago a budget was not passed by June 1 and the Governor did send notices of layoff to meet the requirements of the CBA. However, a budget was passed and signed prior to July 1 and a “shutdown” of government didn’t occur.

Even though pending layoff notices will be sent, I am highly confident that a budget will be passed and signed into law prior to July 1 which will avoid a “shutdown” of Government. It may take until late June for a compromise to be reached by the Legislature and a budget passed, but I believe that will occur prior to July 1. A “shutdown” of State government on July 1 would have a serious short term and long term negative impact on the economy of the State of Alaska. While some legislators may say that a “shutdown” won’t hurt, it is clear that a majority of them realize that they can’t let that occur--not only because of the negative impact on the State’s economy but also because of the “backlash” from their constituents.

Be assured that ASEA is actively involved in working with legislators and the Governor to urge all parties to avoid a “shutdown.” Our lobbyist, Fate Putman, is working full time on this issue. He and I talk several times a day regarding this issue and I will be joining him in Juneau at critical times during the coming weeks to encourage action by the Legislature. Other public employee unions and the Alaska AFL-CIO are also very active in this effort. It is also important to note that almost every special interest group, not just Unions, are urging the Legislature to take action to get a budget in place and avoid a “shutdown.” This includes the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce who represents the private sector business community. They understand the devastating effect a “shutdown” of Government will have on the economy of the State of Alaska.

We will also be asking for your help in this effort.  We are planning “member actions” to assist us in getting a strong and unified message to all legislators. We will also be sending legislative alert notices to all members at the appropriate times asking you to contact your legislators either by email, letter, or phone. Your voice and support during the coming weeks is very critical. By working together as Union members, I know we will be successful in successfully resolving this issue that is very critical to you as employees of the State.

Again, I know this can be very unsettling and wanted to be sure that you had the most recent update as soon as possible. I will keep you informed as the Alaska Legislature returns to work after Memorial Day.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend.

Jim Duncan
Executive Director

STATE OF ALASKA FAQ FOR A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WITHOUT A STATE OPERATING BUDGET ON JULY 1, 2017

pdf SOA Shutdown FAQ

Proposed FY2018 Operating Budget AFSCME Free College BenefitFurlough Provision Information for State GGU Members

Welcome to ASEA

ASEA/AFSCME Local 52ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 achieves dignity and respect in the workplace for 7,500 state and municipal employees across Alaska through collective bargaining and advocacy relating to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

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Anchorage

ASEA Anchorage Headquarters
2601 Denali St.
Anchorage AK 99503
Phone: (907) 277-5200 or (800) 478-2732 toll free
Fax: (907) 277-5206
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ASEA Juneau
318 Fourth St.
Juneau AK 99801
Phone: (907) 463-4949 or (800) 478-0049 toll free
Fax: (907) 463-4950

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542 4th Ave., Ste. 226
Fairbanks AK 99701
Phone: (907) 452-2300 or (800) 478-2305 toll free
Fax: (907) 452-2307

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