NAPE, state reach contract agreements; raises start in July

In July, many state workers will see higher pay.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:20 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In July, many state workers will see higher pay. The Nebraska Association of Public Employees, or NAPE, and the state of Nebraska reached an agreement on a new labor contract. They’ve been in negotiations since September.

For NAPE’s 8,000 employees, the biggest priority for the biennium was raising wages.

“Our members sent us to the table with wages as the number one priority right now, given the state of the economy and inflation,” Justin Hubly, the Executive Director of NAPE said.

Members of NAPE are calling the agreement historic. Over two years, employees will see between a 10-27% salary increase depending on their job classification. In the first year, starting July 1, employees will see at least a 5% increase across the board, plus extra pay for positive work performance.

The raise is something Department of Revenue employee Brandon Brown said was needed.

“At revenue, we have a couple of areas that are not as fully staffed as we’d like them to be. We do have a lot. Some turnover, that adds to the problem. So the people that are there are having to do a lot,” Brown said.

Brown said the raise is not just about compensation for covering vacancies, though. It’s also about keeping up with the cost of living.

“If we’re getting 1% wage increases, we’re coming nowhere near where we need to, to meet our basic needs. And the private sector was making changes to that,” Brown said.

Sam Hansen, an engineer with the Department of Environment and Energy said the raises will likely keep young professionals in the state.

“This investment in state employees will definitely bring in the younger crowd into state governments, and it will boost retention across the board,” Hansen said.

The bargaining team also brought things like paid parental leave or early retirement to the table, but those were dropped from this year’s negotiations. In spite of that, NAPE considers this agreement beneficial.

“To say this isn’t a win-win for the state of Nebraska, the people in Nebraska, and NAPE AFSCME Members, this is positive all around. And it’s an investment that has been a long time coming,” Hubly said.