On Friday, January 19, NAPE/AFSCME Local 61 appeared in the District Court of Lancaster County to ask a judge to hold the State of Nebraska in contempt for violating the Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) order allowing union members to continue working remotely while our prohibited practices case is still pending.
The Special Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Nebraska argued in court that the CIR’s order had not been violated, and the agencies’ continued efforts to end remote work agreements after the CIR’s ruling was not a willful violation, but a misinterpretation of the CIR’s order.
Conversely, NAPE/AFSCME’s attorney pointed out that some state agencies are still actively violating the order for temporary relief by terminating remote work agreements and calling employees back to the office, or, rather, by not revoking return-to-office directives.
While the State of Nebraska argues that agencies never intended to violate the order, the fact remains that certain agencies made the unilateral decision to terminate remote work agreements after the CIR had granted our union’s motion for temporary relief.
The judge gave both legal teams until January 26, 2024 to submit closing briefs. The Court will take those briefs and the arguments made during the hearing under advisement and we expect the Court to rule shortly thereafter.
We anticipate that the CIR trial on our prohibited practices petition, to determine if the State of Nebraska must bargain with our union over employees’ right to work remotely, will take place in late February. Until then, State of Nebraska employees who are NAPE/AFSCME bargaining unit members who work fully remotely or in a hybrid work assignment should maintain their schedule as it existed before the issuance of the executive order.
If you aren’t a NAPE/AFSCME union member, will you join us today?