April 15, 1998

Union Says "Don't Vote"

April 15, 1998 NR 11-1998

The University of Alaska revealed today that the Classified Professionals union has encouraged employees not to vote in the current union election. "The election will be decided by a majority of only those employees who vote. So, if employees want to have a say in whether they will have a union, they must vote," said university labor relations director, Jim Johnsen.

The Classified Professionals union said in a recent publication to employees, "If you like things the way they are right now, then don't vote."

"In fact, if employees like the way things are right now (no union) and they don't vote, they give the election to the union," Johnsen said. "When we asked the union to correct this erroneous statement, they said they would not respond on the advice of their lawyer. We hope the union's statement does not discourage employees from voting."

The university has been communicating with employees about the importance of their votes. In addition, the university has tried to correct a series of inaccurate statements made by the union. Johnsen said, "It's been a real challenge to keep up with the union's glossy advertising campaign, but we have corrected the record on issues such as salary increases, health benefits, the employee cost of union representation, job security, the university's financial situation, and the election process itself."

"We strongly encourage employees to vote in this election. If they vote union, we'll respect that choice and deal with employee concerns through the union. If they vote no union, the university will continue to address concerns of employees individually and through our staff governance organizations," concluded Johnsen.

On April 2, 1998, the Alaska Labor Relations Agency mailed out ballots to nearly 1,000 classified employees across the state. The ballots must be received by the agency no later than April 30, 1998, so they can be counted on May 1, 1998.

For more information: Jim Johnsen, Director of Labor Relations University of Alaska (907) 474-7879