Trade Groups Sue Anchorage School District Over Community Labor Needs

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Associated Builders and Contractors of Alaska and Associated General Contractors of Alaska jointly sued against the Anchorage School District over its new Student Community Workforce Agreement.

The policy, adopted by the Anchorage School Board on March 1, requires school district construction projects with budgets greater than $1 million to have a student community labor agreement. The new policy comes from school board members Carl Jacobs and Dave Donley and is intended to provide students with additional work experience for those in vocational and technical training.

Alicia Maltby, CEO and President of Associated Builders and Contractors, said there are many apprenticeship programs in the state that serve the same purpose as this labor agreement. Maltby argues that a labor deal will drive up costs and violate equal protection by creating hiring preferences.

“At the end of the day, they (labour agreements) increase (the cost of the project) by 12% to 18% in any market,” Maltby said. “So at the end of the day, all of your public funds and all of our public funds will be spent on these projects, and no one really understands that the increase would be because many contractors could not bid. work.”

A school district spokesperson said it is district policy not to comment on legal matters, but the Student Community Workforce Agreement policy was discussed publicly on March 1 at a an Anchorage School Board meeting when the board passed the 6-0 policy, with member Dora. Wilson abstained.

“There are success stories across the country, these types of agreements and requirements,” board member Dave Donley said at the March meeting. “And we have examples right here in Alaska and Juneau.”

Prior to the vote, the policy was met with opposition as many local entrepreneurs testified against the policy. Superintendent Deena Bishop also spoke out against the policy and said the district is concerned about the policy.

“I would like to state publicly that the administration strongly opposed this policy,” Bishop said at the March meeting. “And we shared that with the board in a public meeting.”

At the March meeting, board chair Margo Bellamy tried to push the vote back to April. She said she was surprised by the number of people who testified against the policy that night. But Bellamy’s motion fell through as other members urged the board to continue with the vote.

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