FY2020 State Operating Budget Enacted

Dear GGU Member,

Today the Governor announced line items vetoes to the FY2020 State Operating Budget totaling more than $400 million spread across departments and divisions, public assistance and environmental monitoring programs, public broadcasting and state humanities--including a staggering $135 million cut to the University of Alaska.

The impacts of the Dunleavy vetoes reach into each state department and, in some cases, eliminate entire programs. The Nome Youth Facility and several Division of Agriculture programs have had their funding deleted, affecting more than 30 employees. Nearly 70 positions total appear to be removed across state service due to the cuts, approximately half of them currently vacant and unfilled for longer than a year.

Fortunately, the monetary terms of the ASEA 2019-2022 contract were approved in the FY2020 budget as enacted. Employees represented by ASEA will receive a 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) beginning July 1, 2019 along with an increase to the employer’s contribution toward health insurance and an end to mandatory furloughs.

In the last two weeks I urged you to contact Governor Dunleavy to request his support for fully funding the Legislature’s budget and I’m grateful for the messages I received from many of you after making that call or sending that message.

Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes did not approach the $1.6 billion in cuts that were threatened in his February amended FY2020 State Operating Budget proposal and I give ASEA members credit for tempering his decision to slash state services. Please note that Dunleavy clearly intends to reduce the FY2021 Operating Budget by a similar figure.

Union membership pays benefits and, as noted above, ASEA bargaining unit members will receive a 3% increase to their wages effective next week. Alaska Court System employees also were anticipating a COLA but, without a collective bargaining agreement and a union to protect it, the unthinkable happened when Governor Dunleavy deleted it from the budget by line item veto this morning.

ASEA is actively protecting your interests and the Governor’s line item vetoes is a bittersweet occasion to underscore how our union is committed to delivering the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Please stay strong, active and involved. If you have questions about how the FY2020 State Operating Budget impacts your position please contact your regional ASEA office. Thank you for supporting our union, please contact me anytime.

In Solidarity,

Jake Metcalfe
Executive Director