Executive Order 23-17
NAPE/AFSCME union members professionally delivered vital public services in person and remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it was a surprise when Governor Jim Pillen announced an Executive Order on November 13 that the public has an expectation that all state employees perform their work from an in person location. Whether working in person or remotely, state employees have always delivered for the people of Nebraska. That’s why Governor Pillen’s Executive Order 23-17 is wrong for the State of Nebraska.
In its current form, the Executive Order will worsen staffing shortages and limit our ability to retain and attract high quality public servants. It should be the top priority of our state’s leaders to provide excellent and efficient public services. The reality is that we will lose talented employees because of this order, which harms Nebraskans across the state.
What Does This Mean?
Currently, each agency has its own remote work policy. This Executive Order will require state agencies to change their current remote work policies and practices. Our union contract requires agencies to give our union a 10 day written notice of all policy changes, and it requires policies to be implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.
As of yet, no agency has updated its remote work policies. If there are changes, our union will wait to receive notice, evaluate the change, and, when necessary, take action to challenge the policy. Union members will remember that when DHHS attempted to change its dress code policy, NAPE/AFSCME members went all the way to the Supreme Court and won.
State law requires certain mandatory subjects to be negotiated between the State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME. So far no additional details regarding actual changes to remote work policies have been released. When they are released, our union will take appropriate action if necessary.
What Can We Do?
Right now, we are evaluating our options and waiting for information from individual agencies and the Department of Administrative Services. As soon as we have information, we will share it with our membership. Be sure to watch your email, our website, and our Facebook page. In the meantime, state employees can take the following action:
Stay informed, learn more, and ask a coworker to join our union! Union members can attend an in person meeting or a short virtual meeting on Monday, November 27 at 7pm central/6pm mountain. Register for the meeting by clicking here.
If you are not a union member, now is the time to send a message and join your union today.
Union membership is at an all time high as we continue growing to 3,000 strong for more power at the bargaining table. A union is a group of employees who unite together – we need you to stand with your colleagues right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Executive Order mean for the future of remote work?
This means that agencies must change their remote work policies to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order. It’s up to union members to unite together and take action to protect our rights and continue to provide excellent public services.
What is our union going to do about this?
We are evaluating our options, however, we must wait for details to be released regarding agency policy changes. Once we review those changes, we will take appropriate action such as demanding to bargain, filing a grievance, etc. To determine the best course of action, we must wait for more information.
What can I do right now to help?
In this moment, the best way to send a message is to stand in solidarity with your fellow union members. If you are not a member, show the Governor that this matters by joining today. Members should talk to their colleagues about the importance of joining our union to make a difference. Stay tuned to your email, our website, Facebook, etc. for additional information and ways to help in the coming days and weeks.
Will my schedule be changed to 8am-5pm Monday-Friday?
Our contract requires management to give a 10 day written notice of any permanent schedule change. While the Executive Order says that employees will be available to provide services from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday, we do not expect large-scale schedule changes.
I work for the Department of Education, does this apply to me?
As a constitutional agency, this does not directly apply to the Nebraska Department of Education. We will wait to see what, if any, action the Department of Education takes.