City of Fairbanks working towards new contract with safety union

Published: Jun. 18, 2018 at 7:59 PM AKDT
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After roughly four years, the City of Fairbanks is working towards a new negotiated contract with the Public Safety Employees Association.

In August 2014, the Fairbanks City Council voted on and approved a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the public safety union.

Sitting on the board as a councilman at the time, Jim Matherly - who is now the city's mayor - requested that the council reconsider the contracts due to cost concerns.

The council suspended its rules of procedure to vote on the reconsideration request.

The council ultimately rejected the contracts, motivating the labor union to file a lawsuit, claiming unfair labor practices.

On June 15th of this year, the Alaska Supreme Court voted in favor of the city of Fairbanks in this long-running dispute.

Mayor Matherly said it’s time to move forward, “I'm relieved that a decision was made because now, Chief Jukes and I can move forward with negotiations with the police and dispatch and PSEA in general, that's the most important thing to me.”

Matherly explained that the negotiating team for the city and the negotiating team for the PSEA which is police and dispatch will now come together and meet, take a look at the contract and negotiate.

He added that negotiations will continue this month, and he hopes to update the current contract quickly.

*At time of publication, representatives from the Public Safety Employees Association did not respond to a request for an interview.*