ASEA Message Re: SOA Layoff Notice

On Thursday, June 17, the State of Alaska issued ‘pink-slip’ notices of potential layoff providing you with the minimum notice required in the ASEA contract. These were sent after the Legislature passed a State Operating Budget on Wednesday, June 16—but lacked the support from House Minority members to approve an effective date in time to avoid a shutdown.

First, let me say that it’s profoundly disappointing that it has reached this point. Notice of potential layoff has been routine in the last several years but they are never welcome and never necessary. The uncertainty that follows each notice like this is undeserved and unfair, and I hope the information below provides some clarity to make good decisions for yourself and your family.

Health Insurance
In the event of a shutdown and layoff, your health care coverage through the ASEA Health Trust will continue through the end of July. If the shutdown actually comes to pass, an update on the effect on coverage after July will be shared.

Leave Cash-In
Cashing in leave may be premature, despite the deadline of June 29 for cash-in requests. In the event of layoff, your leave will be cashed-out anyway. The State is telegraphing its desire for a Letter of Agreement (LOA) providing for a furlough—and thereby hanging on to your leave during the suspension of your employment. Once leave is cashed-in, it cannot be returned for leave credit. Please stay tuned.

Furlough vs. Layoff
Is furlough possible instead of layoff? The State can only furlough employees through LOAs and has approached ASEA stating their interest in doing so. Because these matters impact your wages and benefits, this would require a vote of the membership. The State does not want to lay off employees as they would be required to pay out over $200 million in leave. Whatever form an interruption of service may take, your work status is jeopardized by the Governor and House Minority in a flex to trade state services for unsustainable expenditures.

Unemployment Benefits
While laid off, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. For information about UI benefits, consult the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Unemployment Insurance Program resources at More information will be available soon.

Effective Date or No?
Legal interpretation supports the House Majority’s position that the Governor can adopt the State Operating Budget and conduct business without an effective date. The Governor has dismissed that interpretation and is holding the interruption of state programs and services over the heads of legislators in hope of reviving an unsustainable PFD proposal. This is a political battle over your public service despite a legal basis for the Governor to sign the budget—even with line items vetos—and get back to serving the needs of Alaskans. We will continue to keep you informed of developments.

What’s Next

  • The State is working on a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and ASEA will provide the same.
  • ASEA will hold a meeting on Monday, June 21 from 11:45 am to 12:34 pm for up-to-date information about the potential state shutdown. Please refer to the email you received or contact ASEA for registration information.

Thank you for your service to Alaska and the communities that depend on you. Please know that ASEA will support you no matter the outcome of the budget showdown. ASEA continues to communicate with members of the Administration and Legislature to avoid the consequences of an unnecessary state shutdown.

In Solidarity,
Jake Metcalfe
Executive Director