Nebraska Association of Public Employees

Newsletter Articles

June 2019

NAPE files a grievance on behalf of our members when we believe that management has violated a specific clause in our contract. Grievances are also filed to challenge employee discipline and termination cases. Of the 31 grievances we have filed this year, 12 were discipline/termination cases, and the others alleged contract violations. While we attempt to solve disputes before initiating the formal grievance process, sometimes it is our only recourse to protect our members’ rights. While most of the cases are still pending, six non-disciplinary cases have reached conclusion, and NAPE prevailed in all six cases!

Examples of the victories:

  • NDOT employees were not compensated for time spent in “on call status”. After winning the grievance, the affected employees received back on call wages for the time they were on call but not called into work.
  • Department of Labor and DHHS employees had their vacation requests denied. Our contract states that the employer must grant reasonable requests to use earned vacation leave. After winning the grievance, the affected employees had their vacation leave requests granted.
  • Child & Family Services employees expected to see a 4.5% pay raise this year, however, DHHS only paid the employees a 3% raise. After winning the grievance all CFS Specialists, Staff Care Techs, and Developmental Techs in the entire state were paid back wages and had their salary increased by an additional 1.5%.
  • An employee used a sick day the day prior to a holiday, and DHHS refused to pay the employee holiday pay. After winning the grievance, the employee received holiday pay, however, the larger victory was that the state cannot without holiday pay in the future if an employee uses approved compensatory time the day before or after the holiday.
  • While discipline cases are usually unique to one employee, NDOT disciplined an employee when the local superintendent determined that the employee violated a policy. The policy did not exist, and after winning the grievance, the disciplinary action was expunged and removed from the employees’ record. The implications, however, affect all employees because the agency cannot discipline employees for violating policies that do not exist.

Examples of other pending grievances:

  • DHHS forced employees at a local office to use vacation time when the office was closed and it was impossible to travel to another office due to weather conditions. NAPE is arguing that employees must receive their vacation days back because there was no viable option for the employee to work elsewhere.
  • Social Service Workers volunteered to work overtime to help with disaster assistance following the recent flooding.When they arrived to work on a Sunday, they could not enter the building because their key cards did not work. The employees had to wait for over an hour for a supervisor to arrive to unlock the worksite. DHHS has refused to pay the employees for the time spent waiting.
  • An employee transferred from one agency to another, and was offered a higher rate of pay. Game & Parks decided not to honor the rate of pay in the offer letter, arguing that DAS would not allow the higher rate of pay. NAPE filed a grievance and is fighting for back wages because the employee made the decision to transfer based on the information they were provided at the time of hire.
  • NDOT ignored the seniority list when assigning overtime during the recent flood response. The agency argues that they were overwhelmed by the emergency and could not practically respond to the emergency by following the seniority provisions of our contract. NAPE argues that the Transportation Appendix specifically references emergency response, and where possible, employees must be assigned in rotating seniority order.

NAPE members have the benefit of the union covering the cost of the grievance process including legal fees. Non-members can still have their grievances processed by the union, however, non-members must pay their own legal costs. If you have a situation that you think might be a contract violation, please contact our office immediately at 402-486-3911. There are strict time limits that must be complied with in the filing process. Our staff are available to discuss your case and provide guidance. An injury to one is an injury to all, and we will proudly fight for your rights!

Nebraska Association of Public Employees