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Sec. 23.40.070. Declaration of policy.

The legislature finds that joint decision-making is the modern way of administering government. If public employees have been granted the right to share in the decision-making process affecting wages and working conditions, they have become more responsive and better able to exchange ideas and information on operations with their administrators. Accordingly, government is made more effective. The legislature further finds that the enactment of positive legislation establishing guidelines for public employment relations is the best way to harness and direct the energies of public employees eager to have a voice in determining their conditions of work, to provide a rational method for dealing with disputes and work stoppages, to strengthen the merit principle where civil service is in effect, and to maintain a favorable political and social environment. The legislature declares that it is the public policy of the state to promote harmonious and cooperative relations between government and its employees and to protect the public by assuring effective and orderly operations of government. These policies are to be effectuated by

(1) recognizing the right of public employees to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining;

(2) requiring public employers to negotiate with and enter into written agreements with employee organizations on matters of wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment;

(3) maintaining merit-system principles among public employees.

Sec. 23.40.075. Items not subject to bargaining.

The parties may not negotiate terms contrary to the

(1) reemployment rights for injured state employees under AS 39.25.158;

(2) reemployment rights of the organized militia under AS 26.05.075 ;

(3) authority of the Department of Health and Social Services under AS 47.27.035 to assign Alaska temporary assistance program participants to a work activity considered appropriate by the Department of Health and Social Services;

(4) authority for agencies to create temporary positions under AS 47.27.055(c); or

(5) provisions contained in a contract under AS 14.40.210 (a)(4).

Sec. 23.40.080. Rights of public employees.

Public employees may self-organize and form, join, or assist an organization to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.

Sec. 23.40.090. Collective bargaining unit.

The labor relations agency shall decide in each case, in order to assure to employees the fullest freedom in exercising the rights guaranteed by AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260, the unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining, based on such factors as community of interest, wages, hours, and other working conditions of the employees involved, the history of collective bargaining, and the desires of the employees. Bargaining units shall be as large as is reasonable, and unnecessary fragmenting shall be avoided.

Sec. 23.40.100. Representatives and elections.

(a) The labor relations agency shall investigate a petition if it is submitted in a manner prescribed by the labor relations agency and is

(1) by an employee or group of employees or an organization acting in their behalf alleging that 30 percent of the employees of a proposed bargaining unit

(A) want to be represented for collective bargaining by a labor or employee organization as exclusive representative, or

(B) assert that the organization which has been certified or is currently being recognized by the public employer as bargaining representative is no longer the representative of the majority of employees in the bargaining unit; or

(2) by the public employer alleging that one or more organizations have presented to it a claim to be recognized as a representative of a majority of employees in an appropriate unit.

(b) If the labor relations agency has reasonable cause to believe that a question of representation exists, it shall provide for an appropriate hearing upon due notice. If the labor relations agency finds that there is a question of representation, it shall direct an election by secret ballot to determine whether or by which organization the employees desire to be represented and shall certify the results of the election. Nothing in this section prohibits the waiving of hearings by stipulation for the purpose of a consent election in conformity with the regulations of the labor relations agency or an election in a bargaining unit agreed upon by the parties. The labor relations agency shall determine who is eligible to vote in an election and shall establish rules governing the election. In an election in which none of the choices on the ballot receives a majority of the votes cast, a runoff election shall be conducted, the ballot providing for selection between the two choices receiving the largest and the second largest number of valid votes cast in the election. If an organization receives the majority of the votes cast in the election it shall be certified by the labor relations agency as exclusive representative of all the employees in the bargaining unit.

(c) An election may not be held in a bargaining unit or in a subdivision of a bargaining unit if a valid election has been held within the preceding 12 months.

(d) Nothing in this chapter prohibits recognition of an organization as the exclusive representative by a public agency by mutual consent.

(e) An election may not be directed by the labor relations agency in a bargaining unit in which there is in force a valid collective bargaining agreement, except during a 90-day period preceding the expiration date. However, a collective bargaining agreement may not bar an election upon petition of persons in the bargaining unit but not parties to the agreement if more than three years have elapsed since the execution of the agreement or the last timely renewal, whichever was later.

Sec. 23.40.110. Unfair labor practices.

(a) A public employer or an agent of a public employer may not

(1) interfere with, restrain, or coerce an employee in the exercise of the employee's rights guaranteed in AS 23.40.080 ;

(2) dominate or interfere with the formation, existence, or administration of an organization;

(3) discriminate in regard to hire or tenure of employment or a term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in an organization;

(4) discharge or discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed an affidavit, petition, or complaint or given testimony under AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260;

(5) refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with an organization which is the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit, including but not limited to the discussing of grievances with the exclusive representative.

(b) Nothing in this chapter prohibits a public employer from making an agreement with an organization to require as a condition of employment

(1) membership in the organization which represents the unit on or after the 30th day following the beginning of employment or on the effective date of the agreement, whichever is later; or

(2) payment by the employee to the exclusive bargaining agent of a service fee to reimburse the exclusive bargaining agent for the expense of representing the members of the bargaining unit.

(c) A labor or employee organization or its agents may not

(1) restrain or coerce

(A) an employee in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in AS 23.40.080, or

(B) a public employer in the selection of the employer's representative for the purposes of collective bargaining or the adjustment of grievances;

(2) refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with a public employer, if it has been designated in accordance with the provisions of AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 as the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit.

Sec. 23.40.120. Investigation and conciliation of complaints.

If a verified written complaint by or for a person claiming to be aggrieved by a practice prohibited by AS 23.40.110 , or a written accusation that a person subject to AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 has engaged in a prohibited practice, is filed with the labor relations agency, it shall investigate the complaint or accusation. If it determines after the preliminary investigation that probable cause exists in support of the complaint or accusation, it shall try to eliminate the prohibited practice by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion. Nothing said or done during this endeavor may be used as evidence in a subsequent proceeding.

Sec. 23.40.130. Complaint and accusation.

If the labor relations agency fails to eliminate the prohibited practice by conciliation and to obtain voluntary compliance with AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260, or, before it attempts conciliation, it may serve a copy of the complaint or accusation upon the respondent. The complaint or accusation and the subsequent procedures shall be handled in accordance with the administrative adjudication portion of AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act).

Sec. 23.40.140. Orders and decisions.

If the labor relations agency finds that a person named in the written complaint or accusation has engaged in a prohibited practice, the labor relations agency shall issue and serve on the person an order or decision requiring the person to cease and desist from the prohibited practice and to take affirmative action which will carry out the provisions of AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260. If the labor relations agency finds that a person named in the complaint or accusation has not engaged or is not engaging in a prohibited practice, the labor relations agency shall state its findings of fact and issue an order dismissing the complaint or accusation.

Sec. 23.40.150. Enforcement by injunction.

The labor relations agency may apply to the superior court in the judicial district in which the prohibited practice occurred for an order enjoining the prohibited acts specified in the order or decision of the labor relations agency. Upon a showing by the labor relations agency that the person has engaged or is about to engage in the practice, an injunction, restraining order, or other order which is appropriate may be granted by the court and shall be without bond.

Sec. 23.40.160. Power to investigate and compel testimony.

(a) For the purpose of the investigations, proceedings, or hearings which the labor relations agency considers necessary to carry out the provisions of AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260, the labor relations agency may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant evidence.

(b) The labor relations agency may administer oaths, examine witnesses, and receive evidence.

(c) The attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence may be required from any place in the state at any designated place of hearing.

(d) If a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued under AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260, the superior court in the district in which the person resides or is found may, upon application by the labor relations agency, issue an order requiring the person to comply with the subpoena.

Sec. 23.40.170. Regulations.

The labor relations agency may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) to carry out the provisions of AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260.

Sec. 23.40.180. Penalty for violation of order or decision.

A person who violates a provision of an order or decision of the labor relations agency is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

Sec. 23.40.190. Mediation.

If, after a reasonable period of negotiation over the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, a deadlock exists between a public employer and an organization, the labor relations agency may appoint a competent, impartial, disinterested person to act as mediator in any dispute either on its own initiative or on the request of one of the parties to the dispute. The parties may also select a mediator by agreement or mutual consent. It is the function of the mediator to bring the parties together voluntarily under such favorable auspices as will tend to effectuate settlement of the dispute, but neither the mediator nor the labor relations agency has any power of compulsion in mediation proceedings.

Sec. 23.40.200. Classes of public employees; arbitration.

(a) For purposes of this section, public employees are employed to perform services in one of the three following classes:

(1) those services which may not be given up for even the shortest period of time;

(2) those services which may be interrupted for a limited period but not for an indefinite period of time; and

(3) those services in which work stoppages may be sustained for extended periods without serious effects on the public.

(b) The class in (a)(1) of this section is composed of police and fire protection employees, jail, prison, and other correctional institution employees, and hospital employees. Employees in this class may not engage in strikes. Upon a showing by a public employer or the labor relations agency that employees in this class are engaging or about to engage in a strike, an injunction, restraining order, or other order that may be appropriate shall be granted by the superior court in the judicial district in which the strike is occurring or is about to occur. If an impasse or deadlock is reached in collective bargaining between the public employer and employees in this class, and mediation has been utilized without resolving the deadlock, the parties shall submit to arbitration to be carried out under AS 09.43.030 or 09.43.480 to the extent permitted by AS 09.43.010 and 09.43.300.

(c) The class in (a)(2) of this section is composed of public utility, snow removal, sanitation, and educational institution employees other than employees of a school district, a regional educational attendance area, or a state boarding school. Employees in this class may engage in a strike after mediation, subject to the voting requirement of (d) of this section, for a limited time. The limit is determined by the interests of the health, safety, or welfare of the public. The public employer or the labor relations agency may apply to the superior court in the judicial district in which the strike is occurring for an order enjoining the strike. A strike may not be enjoined unless it can be shown that it has begun to threaten the health, safety, or welfare of the public. A court, in deciding whether or not to enjoin the strike, shall consider the total equities in the particular class. "Total equities" includes not only the effect of a strike on the public but also the extent to which employee organizations and public employers have met their statutory obligations. If an impasse or deadlock still exists after the issuance of an injunction, the parties shall submit to arbitration to be carried out under AS 09.43.030 or 09.43.480 to the extent permitted by AS 09.43.010 and 09.43.300.

(d) The class in (a)(3) of this section includes all other public employees who are not included in the classes in (a)(1) or (2) of this section. Subject to (g) of this section, employees in this class may engage in a strike if a majority of the employees in a collective bargaining unit vote by secret ballot to do so.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of (b), (c) and (d) of this section, the employees with the concurrence of the employer may agree in writing to submit a dispute arising from interpretation or application of a collective bargaining agreement to arbitration.

(f) The parties to a collective bargaining agreement may provide in the agreement a contract for arbitration to be conducted solely according to AS 09.43.010 - 09.43.180 (Uniform Arbitration Act) or AS 09.43.300 - 09.43.595 (Revised Uniform Arbitration Act) to the extent permitted by AS 09.43.010 and 09.43.300 if either Act is incorporated into the agreement or contract by reference.

(g) Under the provisions of (d) of this section, if an impasse or deadlock is reached in collective bargaining negotiations between a municipal school district, a regional educational attendance area, or a state boarding school and its employees,

(1) the parties shall submit to advisory arbitration before the employees may vote to engage in a strike; the arbitrator shall

(A) be a member of the American Arbitration Association, Panel of Labor Arbitrators, or the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service;

(B) have knowledge of and recent experience in the local conditions in the school district, regional educational attendance area, or state boarding school; and

(C) be determined from a list containing at least five nominees who meet the qualifications of this subsection; this list shall be considered a complete list for the purpose of striking names and selecting the arbitrator;

(2) if, under (1) of this subsection, advisory arbitration fails, a strike may not begin until at least 72 hours after notice of the strike is given to the other party; in any event, a strike may not begin on or after the first day of the school term, as that term is described in AS 14.03.030, unless at least one day in session with students in attendance has passed after notice of the strike is given by the employees to the other party.

Sec. 23.40.205. Family leave.

Notwithstanding any provision of AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 to the contrary, an agreement between the employer subject to AS 39.20.500 - 39.20.550 and an employee bargaining organization that does not contain benefit provisions at least as beneficial to the employee as those provided by AS 39.20.500 - 39.20.550 shall be considered to contain the benefit provisions of those statutes.

Sec. 23.40.210. Agreement; cost-of-living differential.

(a) Upon the completion of negotiations between an organization and a public employer, if a settlement is reached, the employer shall reduce it to writing in the form of an agreement. The agreement may include a term for which it will remain in effect, not to exceed three years. The agreement shall include a pay plan designed to provide for a cost-of-living differential between the salaries paid employees residing in the state and employees residing outside the state. The plan shall provide that the salaries paid, as of August 26, 1977, to employees residing outside the state shall remain unchanged until the difference between those salaries and the salaries paid employees residing in the state reflects the difference between the cost of living in Alaska and living in Seattle, Washington. The agreement shall include a grievance procedure which shall have binding arbitration as its final step. Either party to the agreement has a right of action to enforce the agreement by petition to the labor relations agency.

(b) An employee is eligible for the cost-of-living differential under (a) of this section only if the individual is a state resident. The required presence of an employee at a work station where room and board are provided or reimbursed by the employer may not be considered to be physical presence in the state or physical absence from the state for purposes of determining eligibility for the cost-of-living differential.

(c) The commissioner of administration may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) to clarify and implement the criteria for establishing and maintaining eligibility for the cost-of-living differential.

(d) An agreement entered into under AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 must require compliance with the eligibility criteria for receiving the cost-of-living differential contained in this section and the regulations adopted by the commissioner under (c) of this section.

(e) In this section, "state resident" means an individual who is physically present in the state with the intent to remain permanently in the state under the requirements of AS 01.10.055 or, if the individual is not physically present in the state, intends to return to the state and remain permanently in the state under the requirements of AS 01.10.055 and is absent only temporarily for reasons allowed under AS 43.23.008 or a successor statute.

Sec. 23.40.212. Agreement with the Board of Regents.

(a) The Board of Regents of the University of Alaska may delegate to the Department of Administration its authority under AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 to negotiate with an organization for an agreement.

(b) The Department of Administration shall participate in the negotiations between the Board of Regents and an organization. An agreement between the board and an organization requires the approval of the department.

Sec. 23.40.215. Monetary terms subject to legislative funding.

(a) The monetary terms of any agreement entered into under AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 are subject to funding through legislative appropriation.

(b) The Department of Administration shall submit the monetary terms of an agreement to the legislature within 10 legislative days after the agreement of the parties, if the legislature is in session, or within 10 legislative days after the convening of the next regular session. The complete monetary and nonmonetary terms of a tentative agreement shall be submitted to the legislature no later than the 60th day of the legislative session to receive legislative consideration during that calendar year. However, if the department has submitted a tentative agreement in a timely manner and the parties to the agreement decide to renegotiate the terms, the renegotiated agreement shall be considered to have been submitted in a timely manner. In this subsection, "tentative agreement" means an agreement that has been reached by the negotiators for the employer and the bargaining unit but that may not yet have been ratified by the members of the bargaining unit.

(c) Notwithstanding (b) of this section, the monetary terms of an agreement entered into between a school district or regional educational attendance area and its employees are not required to be submitted to the legislature.

Sec. 23.40.220. Labor or employee organization dues and employee benefits, deduction and authorization.

Upon written authorization of a public employee within a bargaining unit, the public employer shall deduct from the payroll of the public employee the monthly amount of dues, fees, and other employee benefits as certified by the secretary of the exclusive bargaining representative and shall deliver it to the chief fiscal officer of the exclusive bargaining representative.

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