Public Employee Advocate

Summer 2015

Feature Story
Public employees stand their ground

Public employee unions are fighting to save quality services in the standoffs between state lawmakers and governors.

As states prepared to begin a new fiscal year this summer, dozens faced budget shortfalls. To close the gap, public employees found themselves fighting governors and state lawmakers, urging the leaders to keep them on the job providing important, high-quality public services. The continued attack on public workers is inspiring them to stand their ground and push back.

ALASKA

Funding in Alaska (a state that relies on gas and oil revenues for its general fund) was hit hard by the drop in oil prices this year. The Republican-led Legislature passed a budget, but there wasn’t enough money to fund operations in the budget. Gov. Bill Walker warned the legislators that the state government might have to shut down if the budget was not fully funded, but the lawmakers didn’t budge. Their refusal to fund a budget resulted in the state sending 10,000 notices to state employees warning of the possibility of layoffs on July 1, the beginning of a new fiscal year. 

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