The NAPE/AFSCME Government Affairs Committee has been monitoring legislation during the current legislative session that could have an impact on union members. Additionally, NAPE/AFSCME members attended the Nebraska State AFL-CIO Legislative Conference in March and met with State Senators to discuss pending legislation.
Delegates to the 2021 NAPE Biennial Delegate Assembly adopted our legislative platform which included our support for efforts to raise the minimum wage. In November 2022, voters overwhelming passed a ballot initiative that increases the minimum wage gradually through January 1, 2027, at which point the minimum wage will be adjusted by the cost of living.
Senator Jane Raybould (Lincoln) introduced a bill, which she has since prioritized that would cap cost of living increases at 1.5%. Further it would create a sub-minimum wage for workers ages 14-17. NAPE/AFSCME is opposed to this legislation and encourages our members to contact their senator to let them know they oppose a reduction to the minimum wage that the voters overwhelmingly passed.
In our legislative platform, NAPE/AFSCME is also opposed to efforts to reduce worker’s compensation benefits. The Legislature’s Business & Labor Committee has heard a number of bills that would reduce benefits, but the committee has not yet advanced any of those bills. Our Government Affairs Committee continues to watch this closely.
State Senator Carol Blood (Bellevue) introduced LB5, which would expand workers compensation coverage for mental injuries suffered by employees who experience workplace violence such as a shooting or hostage situation. Currently, worker’s compensation only applies to physical injuries. NAPE/AFSCME supports this bill, as it would provide needed coverage in the event of tragic workplace situations, such as the hostage situation that affected NAPE/AFSCME members at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in 2015.
Thank you to NAPE/AFSCME members Brandon Brown (Revenue, Lincoln), Jay Jensen (NDOT, Omaha), and Brian Koch (Labor, Beatrice) who took vacation time to represent us at the Capitol to meet with State Senators on these important issues.