Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Union Members Testify at CIR Remote Work Trial, Decision Expected in Late April

Since Executive Order 23-17 was issued by the Governor in November 2023, NAPE/AFSCME union members all across the state have united to protect our rights to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment by organizing to protect remote work assignments. Those efforts came to a head on February 26 & 27 when the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) held a trial on our union’s prohibited practices petition.

Our petition alleges that the State of Nebraska violated the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act when it failed to negotiate over a mandatory subject of bargaining – in this case, the terms and conditions of remote work. Our petition asks the CIR to enter an order requiring the State of Nebraska to negotiate with our union over remote work.

NAPE/AFSCME called ten witnesses at trial. The witnesses included the Governor’s chief negotiator, the State Personnel Director, agency heads, and NAPE/AFSCME union members. Union members who testified shared their job offer letters, their experiences, and the terms and conditions of their remote work arrangements. The evidence presented by our union showed that remote work is not covered by our labor contract, that the Executive Order changes the terms and conditions of employment, and that the state refused to negotiate with our union.

In response, the State of Nebraska called three witnesses to support its argument that our labor contract, in Article 3.8 gives the State the authority to, “increase, reduce, change, modify and alter the composition and site of the work force.” The state argues that the “site of the work force” gives the state carte blanche authority to assign any state employee to do their work anywhere it chooses.

Our union disagrees with the state’s interpretation of Article 3.8, and the parties will now make their final arguments in written briefs. All briefs will be submitted by April 12, 2024, and the CIR will make its final decision in the weeks that follow.

After the CIR makes its final decision, either party has the right to appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court within thirty days. Union members who were unable to attend our update meeting after the trial and want to learn more can click here to view a recording on our archive page.

While the topic of this case is remote work, this is an important case for all union members because at issue is our fundamental right to negotiate. A union is a group of employees who unite together to protect their interests, mainly through contract negotiations. Our union members are united in this legal fight to protect our rights now and in the future. If you are not a union member, please click here to join us today.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees