PR: Perm. Injunction Ordered in SOA Interference

Press Release
February 8, 2021
Contact:  Jake Metcalfe, Executive Director
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Court Orders Permanent Injunction against State Interference

Anchorage - Today Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller found that the State of Alaska breached its collective bargaining agreement with ASEA, breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violated the separation of powers enshrined in the state constitution and Public Employee Relations Act, and violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The Court further ordered a Permanent Injunction against the State of Alaska for the State’s attempted interference with ASEA membership and union administration which began in 2019.

In addition to the Permanent Injunction against state interference, Judge Miller ordered the State to pay ASEA more than $186,000 in damages.

ASEA Executive Director Jake Metcalfe said he is pleased with Court’s decision. “The Governor took a radical and unsupported legal action that hurt all state employees. This has wasted state resources, time, and attention from other more important issues like governing. The Court agreed with us and held that the Clarkson opinion and the Governor’s order and illegal Administration policies it propped up are not supported in law.”

The court cites interference by the State, particularly through actions by Gov. Mike Dunleavey, Clarkson, and Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka when they sought to unilaterally modify union membership procedures, to implement the August 27, 2019 Clarkson legal opinion and Administrative Order 312, and to circumvent the State’s collective bargaining obligations by direct dealing with bargaining unit members.

“We are grateful for the permanent injunction, not only for ASEA members but for every public employee union in Alaska. This injunction allows all of us to continue our representation and work to make life better for every employee, public or private, in Alaska.” Metcalfe also said, “ASEA looks forward now to working with the State on the real and important issues facing our members, like their health and safety in the work place.”

ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 is an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME represents more than 1.4 million public service workers across the country. ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 is the largest union of state and municipal public service workers in Alaska with more than 8,000 hardworking public employees. ASEA members include public health nurses, virologists, guardians, emergency dispatchers and responders, firefighters, and public safety officers. They work in 24-hour facilities, ensuring our most vulnerable Alaskans are cared for. Alaska can’t recover our economy or end this pandemic without the dedicated work from ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 members.


Timeline of Case No. 3AN-19-09971 CI


Aug 27     AG Clarkson published his opinion letter misinterpreting the Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 Supreme Court decision
Sep 16     The State of Alaska sued ASEA over its contract with ASEA that had been previously agreed upon by both parties
Sep 25     ASEA Countersued the State of Alaska and asked for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the State’s actions
Sep 26     Governor Dunleavy issued an Administrative Order (AO) that violated the state law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement Contracts the State recently agreed to and signed with ASEA
Sep 27     ASEA filed with the Court a Notice in Support of Motion for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction
Oct 3       Judge Miller granted ASEA’s request for a TRO:

The State’s conduct – including the issuance of its September 26, 2019 administrative order – seems directly at odds with both PERA and the CBA the State signed, in that the State is “interfere[ing] with the formation, existence, or administration of a[] [labor] organization. The State provides no colorable explanation for why the existing dues authorization form’s annual opt-out period is not sufficient. Employer-sponsored health insurance plans, for example, typically have a once-a-year opt-in/opt-out period, and absent special circumstances such as marriage or divorce, that once-annual decision is binding. Political elections are once every four years. Most contracts are not revocable at will. The State does not explain why union membership should be any different.

Oct 7       The State of Alaska filed an opposition to ASEA’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction
Oct 17     ASEA filed a motion to convert the TRO into a Preliminary Injunction and asked for the Court to deny the State’s request to consolidate ASEA’s motion with a trial on the merits. Legal counsel for ASEA, Molly Brown, told the Court:

The defendants (the State) raise no new argument and present no new evidence in opposition to ASEA’s motion for preliminary injunction. The Court should therefore convert the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction.

Nov 5      Judge Miller granted ASEA with a Preliminary Injunction against the State of Alaska and denied the State’s Motion for Consolidation.


Feb 8      Judge Miller orders Permanent Injunction against State of Alaska interference in ASEA membership and union administration.

pdf Court Orders Permanent Injunction against State Interference (Feb. 8, 2021) (313 KB)

pdf Superior Court Order of Injunction and Award to ASEA for SOA Interference (Feb. 8, 2021) (120 KB)