City Council Proposes $70,000 to Fight Unionization

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council spent an hour behind closed doors last night conferring with its attorneys on the response to the potential for city employees to become unionized. A voter initiative may appear on the October 6 municipal election ballot asking residents if city employees may form a union.

An ordinance outlining the city’s response to that eventuality was drawn up in advance, appropriating 20-thousand dollars for a public information campaign and 20-thousand dollars for additional legal services. But after the executive session, the amount for the public information campaign was increased to 50-thousand dollars.

The city’s public information campaign ordinance is on the fast track, and according to Mayor Carolyn Floyd, it will come up for a public hearing and a final vote on Thursday.

After the meeting, Mayor Carolyn Floyd explained the ordinance:

(City 1 18 sec "The ordinance is for … how to deal with those.")

The city manager’s preamble to the ordinance warns of increased costs to the city if unionization is successful, but the mayor told KMXT’s Jay Barrett that the information campaign would not come out and say the city is against it. She does say it will raise the specter of increased taxes:

(City 2 50 sec "We’re going to say that … collective bargaining agreement.")

However, if union organizers want to fund their own 50-thousand dollar public information campaign between now and the election, Floyd says they need not ask the city for any public funds:

(City 3 13 sec "And if the ones … their union, that is backing them.")

Only four of the five remaining city councilmembers were in attendance at last night’s special meeting. Tonight, the council will interview the three candidates to fill Jack Maker’s vacant seat until the October elections. They are former councilman Charlie Davidson, Chamber of Commerce President John Whiddon, and businesswoman Rhonda Maker. The council will make a choice during its Thursday meeting.

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