Labor Union, Chamber Of Commerce Rally For State Capital Budget

Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 9:39 PM AKDT
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The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce held a rally at the State Building in downtown Fairbanks on Thursday, urging Governor Walker to act quickly to pass the capital budget.

Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Marisa Sharrah, and Board Chair, Garry Hutchison, wrote to Senators MacKinnon and Hoffman, and Representatives Seaton and Foster, explaining how not passing a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 18 would be detrimental not only to the infrastructure for Alaska, but for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities contractor employees.

Because it has taken so long to pass a capital budget, DOT and Public Facilities have run out of the matching funds needed to receive federal funds to keep current projects operational.

Therefore, projects have halted, and contractor employees are not working.

Several members of the Laborer's International Union of North America, or LIUNA, gathered to rally for passing a capital budget for F-Y 18.

Business Manager of Labor's Local 942, Scott Eickholt discussed why he and local union members are rallying, and what could happen if the capital budget does not get passed.

"We're here to show support of the legislature. They've put together a budget that needs to be passed. We're asking the governor to call them back to session to make sure we get this budget through as soon as possible. Our members, with seeing the budget shrink in the past few years, we're seeing fewer and fewer jobs, and if we don't get any capital budget passed this year most of our members will be out of work. We're already seeing quite a few at call that are seeking opportunities and it's getting to a point of being dire."