Legislative leaders raise labor cost concerns
JUNEAU (AP) — Legislative leaders are urging Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to negotiate no raises in union labor contracts amid concerns about state budget costs.
Senate President Charlie Huggins, House Speaker Mike Chenault and the co-chairs of the House and Senate Finance committees signed the letter to Parnell. The administration currently is involved in negotiations affecting nearly two-thirds of the state workforce.
The letter lays out concerns with Alaska's ability to meet its budget obligations amid declining oil production. Higher prices in recent years have helped to mask the impact of the decline.
The letter asks Parnell to hold the monetary terms of the contracts "at zero." It says, in this fiscal environment, the leaders are concerned that increases in wages and benefits "may necessarily squeeze budgets" and put workers' jobs at risks.