Two weeks ago, Nebraska´s Governor, Jim Pillen, issued an executive order that affected state workers.
He asked most state employees to stop working remotely and report to their respective offices on January 2nd.
Now, state employees are demanding a seat at the bargaining table. The Nebraska Association of Public Employees, representing over 8,000 workers, has filed a plea demand.
NAPE’s Executive Director, Justin Hubly, said: “From our perspective, work has been getting done. We haven’t seen widespread inefficiency issues.”
This is why “it was surprising when Governor Pillen, unilaterally and without warning, decided to bring everybody back.”
In addition to being potentially unnecessary, NAPE is also taking cross with Gov. Pillen’s EO from a procedural standpoint.
“While we respect the Governor’s right to have a preference,” said Hubly in an official statement, “the terms and conditions of employment are mandatory subjects of bargaining under both the Nebraska State Employees Collective Bargaining Act and the Industrial Relations Act.”
According to the union, the state worker´s contracts contain a clause that would protect them from this situation. It says the employer agrees not to implement changes unilaterally to the conditions of work that fall outside the scope of the contract.
Hubly added, like many businesses, state agencies have been critically short staffed. Wworking remotely has been beneficial for retaining employees.
“If the Governor unilaterally said, ‘You all have to come back,’ we would lose a critical mass of employees”
NAPE sent a formal demand to bargain to the Governor’s chief negotiator and has given the state until December 12th, to respond.