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International Association of Firefighters, Local 1264 v. Municipality of Anchorage (1/8/99), 971 P 2d 156
Notice: This opinion is subject to correction before publication in
the Pacific Reporter. Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of
the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, 303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone
(907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878.
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF )
FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 1264, ) Supreme Court No. S-8267
) Superior Court No.
v. ) 3AN-95-4430 CI
MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, ) O P I N I O N
Appellee. ) [No. 5062 - January 8, 1999]
Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of
Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage,
Milton M. Souter, Judge.
Appearances: Charles A. Dunnagan, Jermain,
Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellant. Thomas M.
Daniel, Valerie L. Brown, Perkins Coie, Anchorage, for Appellee.
Before: Matthews, Chief Justice, Compton,
Eastaugh, and Bryner, Justices. [Fabe,
Justice, not participating.]
MATTHEWS, Chief Justice.
The Municipality of Anchorage and the International
Association of Firefighters (IAFF) have been parties to a series of
collective bargaining agreements. The Municipality and IAFF for
many years included an interest arbitration clause in their
collective bargaining agreements. During contract negotiations in
1991 and 1994, IAFF desired to continue the practice, but the
Municipality did not. In both rounds of negotiation, IAFF insisted
to the point of impasse on inclusion of the interest arbitration
clause in the agreement. The Municipality, in turn, filed unfair
labor practice charges with the Anchorage Municipal Employee
Relations Board, alleging that IAFF's insistence on bargaining over
the clause was an unfair labor practice.
The board concluded that an interest arbitration clause
was a nonmandatory bargaining subject. The board ruled that IAFF
had committed an unfair labor practice by insisting on bargaining
over the clause, and ordered IAFF to cease and desist demanding
inclusion of the clause in the agreement. The superior court
affirmed. We now affirm as well.
The Anchorage Municipal Code requires the Municipality
and its employees to collectively bargain in good faith over
"wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment." AMC
3.70.140(A)(5), (B)(2). This provision establishes a limitation on
bargaining topics, dividing matters into mandatory and permissive
bargaining subjects. See Alaska Community Colleges Fed'n of
Teachers, Local No. 2404 v. University of Alaska, 669 P.2d 1299,
1305 (Alaska 1983). Employers are required to collectively bargain
in good faith on mandatory bargaining subjects, i.e., subjects
involving "wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of
employment." Id. Other topics are permissive bargaining subjects.
Employers are not required to bring permissive bargaining subjects
to the bargaining table, and are free to make unilateral changes on
such matters. See id.
It is well settled in the federal courts that interest
arbitration is a permissive bargaining subject, and that a union's
insistence to impasse on inclusion of an interest arbitration
clause in a contract is an unfair labor practice. See Sheet Metal
Workers' Int'l Ass'n, Local 14 v. Aldrich Air Conditioning, Inc.,
717 F.2d 456, 458 (8th Cir. 1983); see also Sheet Metal Workers'
Int'l Ass'n, Local No. 252 v. Standard Sheet Metal, Inc., 699 F.2d
481, 483-84 (9th Cir. 1983); Milwaukee Newspaper & Graphic
Communications Union Local No. 23 v. Newspapers, Inc., 586 F.2d 19,
21 (7th Cir. 1978); NLRB v. Massachusetts Nurses Ass'n, 557 F.2d
894, 899 (1st Cir. 1977); NLRB v. Greensboro Printing Pressmen &
Assistants' Union No. 319, 549 F.2d 308, 309 (4th Cir. 1977); NLRB
v. Columbus Printing Pressmen & Assistants' Union No. 252, 543 F.2d
1161, 1166 (5th Cir. 1976). The federal courts have concluded that
interest arbitration bears only an indirect or remote relation to
wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment, and is
therefore a permissive bargaining subject. See, e.g., Massachu-
setts Nurses Ass'n, 557 F.2d at 898; Columbus Printing, 543 F.2d at
1166. We agree.
IAFF contends, however, that the federal authority is
inapposite because the Anchorage Municipal Code prohibits
firefighters from striking, and thereby transforms interest
arbitration into a condition of employment. See AMC
3.70.110(A)(1), (B); AMC 3.70.120(A), (D). We disagree. The
strike prohibition may make interest arbitration more important to
the union in negotiating new contracts, but it does not alter the
nature of interest arbitration. Interest arbitration is simply a
process by which the terms and conditions of a new employment
contract are established by a final and binding decision of an
arbitration panel. See Public Safety Employees Ass'n, Local 92 v.
State, 902 P.2d 1334, 1335 n.1 (Alaska 1995). Interest arbitration
may impact the union representatives' relationship with the
employer at the bargaining table, but it does not directly affect
the employees' relationship with the employer in the workplace.
The order of the superior court is therefore AFFIRMED.