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NAPE members secure raises for college support staff in 3 Nebraska colleges

Support staff at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, members of NAPE/AFSCME Local 61. (Photo credit: NAPE)
NAPE members secure raises for college support staff in 3 Nebraska colleges
By Ezra Kane-Salafia/NAPE Staff ·

For months, members of the Nebraska Association of Public Employees (NAPE) at Nebraska’s state colleges have worked hard to organize their colleagues and expand their membership. The unit represents office support staff, custodial, maintenance, physical plant, security and other support employees at Chadron State, Peru State and Wayne State colleges.

Members worked to renew their New Employee Orientation organizing program and their face-to-face efforts. A robust new NEO program in particular allowed members to “get the word out about the union where we hadn’t beforehand,” said Brandon Ziska, a security officer at Wayne State and a bargaining team member. “There’s a lot more talk about the union across our three campuses, people are meeting up over lunch and sharing experiences.”

The organizing paid off in March when the newly invigorated unit brought management to the negotiating table and quickly won a $3 an hour across-the-board pay raise for all 180 state college support staff in the unit. This is in addition to a previously negotiated 2% raise that takes effect on July 1.

“Everyone I’ve heard from is really happy with the new contract,” said Ziska.

Investing time and effort into organizing has led to real gains for the unit – the minimum wage for support staff at the state colleges is now $15.27, a 45% increase in just two years.

The wins have prompted more even more interest in the union, reports Ziska.

“I’m getting more emails back about the union, more people (are) talking to me about it,” he said.

And more organizing and interest in the union leads to more power, which means even bigger victories at the negotiating table.

“These wins are going to help us organize more in the future and make even bigger gains,” Ziska said. “The future looks good.”

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