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Nebraska state employee labor union reaches contract agreement with Gov. Ricketts

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Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT/AP) - The Nebraska governor’s office on Friday announced a contract agreement with state public employees that will provide significant pay hikes, particularly to those working in some health care and high-demand jobs.

The amended 2021-2023 Labor Contract would apply to those working in healthcare and related classifications at the 24/7 facilities within Nebraska’s departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, and Correctional Services as well as other critical state employees.

The state and the Nebraska Association of Public Employees, which represents more than 8,000 public employees across the state, reached an agreement in principle — meaning it’s not yet been ratified — for a $3 per hour pay increase. It also increases overtime pay at 24/7 facilities and provides for an additional 2% cost of living adjustment starting July 1, 2022, according to a release from Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office.

Union director Justin Hubly says the agreement, worth $47 million in new compensation, “represents a substantial increase in pay for our members working within 24/7 facilities and across state government.”

Once ratified, the agreement would also put 20% pay line adjustments in place starting Nov. 1 for those jobs classified as high demand — 30% for critical healthcare classifications.

“Building a strong team starts with retaining and recruiting to add to our ranks. This agreement is an aggressive move on the part of the state to bring our compensation to a competitive level and ensure the continuity of critical services at our 24/7 facilities,” Jason Jackson, the state’s chief human resources officer, said in the release.

The governor’s office called the agreement “historic,” as it represents the “largest mid-biennium contract agreement in Nebraska history.”

“We have record low unemployment in Nebraska and high inflation due to the policies in Washington.  We have a talented team in State government and their skills are in demand in this tight labor market,” Ricketts said in the release.  “This agreement underscores our ongoing recognition of our teammates’ dedication to service and work to retain the team we continue to build.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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