Lawmaker drops bill to restrict collective bargaining

JUNEAU -- An Alaska lawmaker has dropped his bill to restrict collective bargaining rights for many public workers.

Republican Rep. Carl Gatto made the announcement late Thursday after an hours-long floor debate over oil taxes.

Gatto's bill never gained traction in the state Legislature. While he said it was aimed at keeping Alaska on sound financial footing, and was similar to a bill recently passed in Wisconsin, critics saw it as an unwarranted attack on unions.

The bill would have kept intact bargaining rights for wages but it would have stripped them for such things as health and retirement benefits. It exempted police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.