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Dear ASEA Member,

I am writing to inform you that I will be retiring as Executive Director of ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 on December 31, 2017 which is the end of my current employment contract.

On my retirement I will have served almost 15 years as your Executive Director. I am very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work with and for you during these past years. Your dedication and commitment to doing your job to deliver needed services to the residents of the State of Alaska is very important and will not be forgotten.

It has always been my highest priority to work for the best interest of our members and to do the best possible to enhance and protect the working conditions for all our members. We have had a number of successes over the years but we also were faced with a number of challenges. However, I believe ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 has successfully met those challenges and we are a stronger more effective Union than we were 15 years ago. Of course, our successes and growth would not have been possible without your support, activism and unity. The real strength of ASEA, and all unions, is a membership working together for the benefit of all. I want to thank all of you for being an important part of moving ASEA forward.

But the challenges we face as public employees and a union are not over; and neither is my job of working for you and doing the best I can in the next few months to help prepare ASEA to overcome the challenges we will be facing in the future.

We need to continue to advocate that the Governor and Legislature adopt a comprehensive fiscal plan for the State of Alaska. While the specific elements of the fiscal plan is a determination that can only be made by the elected officials; we have the responsibility to continue to urge them to take action immediately. Without a fiscal plan the uncertainty that we faced this past June regarding the adoption of an operating budget will be an annual occurrence. A comprehensive fiscal plan is also needed so that there will be sufficient funding for you to continue to deliver the services that the residents of Alaska deserve and need.

All public employee unions, including ASEA, have to be prepared for attempts on the Federal level to weaken Unions. We expect that in the next few months the U.S. Supreme Court will rule unfavorably on a case entitled “Janus v. AFSCME.” The Janus case specifically targets public sector unions. Its goal is to weaken and impede the power and ability of public employee unions to negotiate a fair contract that recognizes the work all public employees do, to provide for our families, and to address other worksite concerns of hard working public employees. ASEA, with the assistance of AFSCME International, is undertaking a program entitled “ASEA Strong” to be sure our members are fully informed and understand the devastating affect that the Janus case would have on our ability to continue to fully represent all our members. Union stewards and other leaders are currently being trained so that they are prepared to talk to members about Janus and the effects it will have on us. I urge you to become involved in the ASEA Strong program. Your help and commitment to ASEA is critical to withstand the challenges the Janus decision will bring and help ASEA to continue to be a strong, effective union.

I have had a long career in public service in the State of Alaska. In 1972, I worked for the Alaska Department of Revenue. State employees had no union to negotiate a contract for salary, benefits and protection at the worksite because the Public Employees Relations Act which instituted collective bargaining had not yet been enacted. Let me assure you that having a strong union to represent you and working under the protections of a collective bargaining agreement is a much better alternative than state employees had then. The ability to have a strong union is worth working hard to maintain. I urge you to become involved in the next few months to help protect a secure future for you and your family.

Again, thank you for all you do for the State of Alaska. I look forward to doing all I can over the next few months to help you to continue to strengthen ASEA.

Jim Duncan
Executive Director