On March 31, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews denied a request from the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, seeking an injunction regarding the state’s COVID-19 guidelines for government workers.
The ASEA informed members on March 23 it would seek a court order requiring the state to “comply with social distancing federal and state guidelines for those employees who are essential, provide proper equipment for employees who interface with the public, and allow those non-essential state employees to telework.” The union filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on March 24.
According to a press release from the Alaska Department of Law, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson approved of Judge Matthews’ ruling, saying, “These are unprecedented times and we must all step up to do what we can to get through this pandemic, while still keeping the State functioning to provide essential services to Alaskans.”
ASEA Executive Director Jake Metcalfe said, “Without the Administration taking action and adhering to the strictest measures and precautions, we risk our entire workforce for state government falling ill or becoming carriers of this novel coronavirus which could overwhelm our healthcare infrastructure and shut government down. … ASEA is going to review the order and decide what it may do next.”
What we’ve been reading
- Engineering News-Record, “Massachusetts Unions Call for Statewide Halt on Building Projects,” April 1, 2020
- Government Executive, “Federal Employee Union Sues Impasses Panel, Calls Its Appointment ‘Unlawful,’” March 31, 2020
- Honolulu Civil Beat, “Hawaii Public Workers Want Hazard Pay During Coronavirus Pandemic,” April 3, 2020
The big picture
Number of relevant bills by state
We are currently tracking 93 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Number of relevant bills by current legislative status
Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)
Recent legislative actions
Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state, then by bill number.
- No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.
- Five state legislatures held regular sessions this week.
- As of Apr. 3, 25 state legislatures had suspended their sessions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (New York and Vermont reconvened). Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year. Minnesota partially suspended legislative activity.
For more on changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.