Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

NAPE Says Goodbye and Good Luck to Two Field Representatives

This summer, the NAPE/AFSCME team is saying goodbye to two of our Field Representatives, Erika Vasek and Hannah Middleton. 

Erika started at NAPE as an intern in May 2020. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science, she became a Field Representative. Erika stepped into her position at an interesting time when state workers were starting to feel the effects of the pandemic. She saw union members and non-members alike struggle with staffing shortages, excessive overtime, and unsafe working conditions. She’s proud of the ways in which NAPE was able to support them through those precarious times.

During her time with our union, Erika learned a lot about strength in numbers and the importance of people rallying in support of common goals. She realized early in her NAPE tenure that a united front is the most effective way to prompt social and political change that furthers the labor movement.

The most meaningful thing Erika learned was that educating people about their contractual rights is incredibly important but sometimes vastly undervalued. She’s seen the payoff of empowering people through knowledge and she appreciates knowing that Nebraska state workers learned to trust that she and NAPE would advocate for them whenever they faced injustice in their workplace. 

The thing she wants everyone to know about unions is that they get a vote in our country, and it’s just as important that they take advantage of the fact that the union allows them the same right to vote and make their voices heard in the workplace. 

Erika starts law school in September at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

Hannah started working as an intern at NAPE in January 2022. She became a field representative after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her bachelor’s degree in political science in May of 2022. 

She applied for the internship because she saw what the labor movement looked like at the national level and she felt like her generation was often overlooked in union work and political issues in general. She was already passionate about social justice and reform and she felt that NAPE provided an opportunity for her to help get Gen Z involved. 

Her favorite part about working for NAPE was the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of employees from around the state. She found that state employees are incredibly unique in ways that always kept her on her toes and ensured there was never a dull moment. 

Of everything she’s done with our union, Hannah is most proud of the times she moved workers to membership. She hopes that she impacted at least a few people and motivated them to join and actively participate in our union and the labor movement. 

The thing Hannah most wants people to know about union membership is how important it is to know their rights rather than to rely on others to tell them. Inversely, she stressed that no single worker is alone. In fact, she thinks that everyone has a lot more in common than they might expect and that union membership is an excellent way to put political division aside in order to address the everyday issues workers face. 

Hannah starts law school in August at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees