Time to cut losses

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2002

Over 4 1/2 years of serving members in the General Government Unit as a regional business agent for the Alaska State Employees Association, I became very familiar with the skillful diplomacy and negotiations acumen of Bruce Weyhrauch. We worked on cases together, including one arbitration, and I recommended his professional services to many members faced with employment difficulties outside of the ASEA/State of Alaska collective bargaining agreement purview. My confidence in his abilities was such that Mr. Weyhrauch was my attorney when I sued then business manager Spanky O'Connell and six members of the ASEA board for wrongful termination and slander.

Subsequently, when Sitka Judge Larry Zervos late last year determined that I had no right to a hearing by a jury of my peers on the merits of my case, Mr. Weyhrauch appropriately pointed out that there is a time one must fight for what is right and there is a time to cut losses.

I also recognized with this legal decision - after so much work by Mr. Weyhrauch - that it was unlikely a judge from backwater Sitka could understand the profound impropriety of an Anchorage Labor Union BM (also originally from Sitka) firing a union employee on trumped up charges and then joining with members of the ASEA Board to broadcast falsehoods in the media about why that person was terminated.

Rep. Bill Hudson has always been a real friend to state employees. In the case of the "Central Duplication Arbitration," in which the Knowles-Ulmer administration shut down the only union print shop in Southeast Alaska and threw 11 long-time GGU employees on the street with a two-week notice, Rep. Hudson was able to help the union gain a critical piece of evidence in spite of stalling tactics by Department of Administration (DOA) management. We won that case while Democrat representatives did little more than pat violated employees on the back and offer encouragement.

During the current election campaign it is ironic that Mr. Weyhrauch is running to replace Bill Hudson in the Juneau Valley seat of the Alaska Legislature against a Democrat from Sitka. The contrast between these two candidates, and the endorsement of Tim Grussendorf by ASEA, is amusing. And for those familiar with the incestuous nature of some Juneau political opportunists, it is hilarious to hear advertisements on the radio promoting the candidacy of Mr. Weyhrauch's opponent in this race by none other than former senator and now DOA Commissioner, Jim Duncan.

Donn Liston


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