Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan wrote a strongly worded letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich on Friday, admonishing him for putting union negotiations at risk by entering a closed door meeting with Municipality of Anchorage negotiators and IBEW mechanics at the IBEW union hall Wednesday, Oct. 15. (The letter says that it was Oct. 18. In an interview on Friday night, Sullivan said that it was a typo.) Sullivan, it should be noted, is the candidate running for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket, not the Dan Sullivan who’s running for Senate.
Begich’s campaign said that he hadn’t yet received the letter, and declined comment. They did confirm that Begich visited the union hall this week.
Although Sullivan wasn’t in the room, he heard from muni negotiators that Begich only stayed briefly. However, Begich’s very presence in the room, “put the negotiations at risk,” all the more so because Begich made “disparaging remarks about the current administration,” Sullivan wrote. He also wrote that Begich “attempted to discredit and intimidate the Municipal bargaining team.”
In the interview, Sullivan, who has had a tense relationship with unions. said that he had heard that Begich was urging the IBEW to stay strong in its negotiations, compared the current administration to his, and asked for their votes. Sullivan said that people in the room were “shocked” by Begich’s statements, and that it shifted the power dynamics at a critical negotiation time.
“Under Municipal Code, negotiation sessions are private. As a former Mayor, you should know this. Your actions border on an unfair labor practice,” Sullivan wrote.
He said that Begich owes the municipality an apology.
Read the full letter here.
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