In August, NAPE/AFSCME launched our 3,000 Strong: United Together campaign. This is our plan to reach record-high union membership before contract negotiations begin in September 2024.
This isn’t the first time our union has worked toward having 3,000 members. In 1995, NAPE/AFSCME members rallied around a campaign called “3,000 Plus – Or Bust.”
Unsurprisingly, we share many of the same ambitions as our predecessors, including higher wages, better health benefits, strengthening employees’ voices, and advocating for respect and dignity in the workplace.
Bill Arfmann, NAPE/AFSCME Retirees Chapter 161 member and Executive Director of NAPE/AFSCME at the time, recalls how essential the campaign was to bettering the lives of Nebraskans and building our union. AFSCME President Jerry McEntee (1981-2012) even traveled to Nebraska in 1995 to help NAPE launch the 3,000 Plus – Or Bust campaign.
“Our leaders recognized that if we wanted to exercise power, not just have a voice, but have a strong voice, that we had to build our membership base and we also had to increase member participation,” Bill said.
NAPE/AFSCME members rallied around the campaign, and Bill said that their organizing efforts resulted in good contracts and a strong voice in a number of legislative elections in the late 1990s.
Bill is now an active member of our retiree chapter and he’s excited about our 3,000 Strong: United Together campaign.
“3,000 Strong is going to pay off,” he said. “This current campaign is crucial. Myself and the retirees salute the members and staff all across the state that are going to build NAPE to 3,000 and beyond.”
Our union leaders are certain that with more than 3,000 members advocating for themselves and their fellow employees at the bargaining table, we can negotiate another great contract. To help reach our goal, NAPE/AFSCME Volunteer Member Organizers (VMOs) are out in force talking to as many State of Nebraska employees as possible about how our union can make meaningful change in the workplace.
Our predecessors had success with the same types of one-on-one conversations with state employees that we are still having today. We know that our commitment to organizing our colleagues will help NAPE/AFSCME become 3,000 Strong.
“All of our hard work organizing new members back then was worth it,” Bill said. “3,000 Strong is going to happen. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Union membership is at a 25-year high, and we’re determined to keep growing. If you’re not yet a union member, will you click here today to help us finish the fight to 3,000 Strong?