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Union wary of museum proposal

City wants to see workers 'privatized'

Posted: Tuesday, September 06, 2005

ANCHORAGE - City officials have proposed "privatizing" employees of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art but union officials say projected costs savings that would allow the change may not be accurate.

"We do not believe it met the 3 percent savings required under the collective bargaining agreement," Barbara Huff Tuckness, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association, told the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Officials with the city and the municipal employees union continue to review the proposal.

The city on Aug. 26 submitted to union officials a feasibility study looking into cost savings and other efficiencies of making the museum a nonunion facility. Some 28 municipal employees would be affected, according to the city.

Union officials said Aug. 30 that they are concerned about some of the cost savings listed in the study and are hiring an outside accountant to review the numbers.

The study was conducted for the city by the Todd Allen Group, a Chicago-based consultant, said Karen Moore, deputy director of employee relations for the municipality.

The city owns the museum. The operations and fund-raising activities are overseen by several foundations and associations.

The museum in recent months has worked to consolidate several of its boards and organizations to become more efficient and cost effective, said Mary Jane Michael, executive director of the city's Department of Economic and Community Development.

The museum has both union and nonunion employees.

"It's counterproductive to have employees receiving different compensation," Michael said. "We would like to see the employees that work in our system transfer into the new organization."

If a deal to pull out of the union is made, those workers may have to apply for their old jobs, Michael said last spring.

The union has until mid-September to review the document and submit a response to the city. The Anchorage Assembly will have final say in any recommendations.



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