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Gov. Ricketts and State Employee Union reach agreement on upcoming labor contract

(Nati Harnik | AP)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 3:00 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -State leaders announced on Friday an agreement has been reached between the State and the Nebraska Association of Public Employees (NAPE) on an upcoming labor contract.

NAPE governs state employee compensation for employees working in healthcare and related classifications at State facilities with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Correctional Services and other roles throughout state government.

“We have record low unemployment in Nebraska, and high inflation due to the policies in Washington. We have a talented team in State government and their skills are in demand in this tight labor market,” said Governor Ricketts. “This agreement underscores our ongoing recognition of our teammates’ dedication to service and work to retain the team we continue to build.”

According to officials, over 7,500 employees will earn an additional $47 million in new compensation after the deal is finalized. The new agreement would amend the 2021-2023 Labor Contract between the State and NAPE. Under this agreement, employees at 24/7 facilities and covered under this labor contract will receive a $3 per hour pay increase.

Starting on Nov. 1, 2021, there will be a 20% increase pay line adjustment for classifications identified as high demand and a 30% increase pay line adjustment for healthcare classifications identified as critical. The agreement also increases overtime pay at 24/7 facilities, and provides for an additional 2% cost of living adjustment that will occur on July 1, 2022.

“The agreement represents a substantial increase in pay for our members working within 24/7 facilities and across State government,” said NAPE Executive Director Justin Hubly. “Negotiating competitive wages has been a focus for our union, and this agreement goes a long way toward achieving our shared goals of retaining and recruiting the very best talent to serve our fellow Nebraskans. NAPE appreciates Governor Ricketts and his team for meeting us at the table and working collaboratively to make immediate improvements in the lives of our members.”

Jason Jackson, Chief Human Resources Officer for Gov. Ricketts and NAPE also issued statements after reaching an agreement on terms for the new labor contract.

“Building a strong team starts with retaining and recruiting to add to our ranks. This agreement is an aggressive move on the part of the State to bring our compensation to a competitive level and ensure the continuity of critical services at our 24/7 facilities,” said CHRO Jackson. “The State bargaining team appreciates the constructive partnership with NAPE to get this deal done.”

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