The Alaska Public Employees Association/AFT is the oldest Public Employee union in Alaska. Formed in 1955, as the Alaska State Employees Association, it was originally formed to lobby the Alaska Legislature on pay and benefits for State Employees. The Alaska Legislature passed the Public Employment Relations Act in 1972 which granted State and Local Government Employees the right to organize and form unions for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours and other terms and condition of employment.
APEA/AFT was originally selected the bargaining agent for the state’s Supervisory and General Government Units. In addition, Employees of the City of Nome, Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Classified employees of the Juneau School District voted for APEA/AFT to represent them. With the acceptance of political subdivision employees into the Association, the name changed from the Alaska State Employees Association to the Alaska Public Employees Association.
APEA/AFT continued to grow and began representing more and more political subdivision employees. In 1988, the members of the state General Government Unit decided that they wanted an organization just made up of General Government workers. The GGU restarted the defunct Alaska State Employees Association, and they represent them at this time.
In 1990, after over 30 years of being an independent organization, APEA/AFT pursued national affiliation to increase benefits and security for our members. After evaluating a number of international unions, the members of APEA/AFT overwhelmingly voted to join the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Since our affiliation with AFT, we have continued to grow and now have locals representing K-12 paraprofessionals, supervisors and teachers, university full time faculty, adjunct faculty and crafts and trades employees, State of Alaska supervisors, Alaska city and borough employees, public corporations and non-profit organizations.