State employees deliver 1,700 petitions to Gov. Ricketts

Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 19:55:18-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Around a dozen state workers delivered 1,700 petitions to the desk of Governor Pete Ricketts.

Asking him for three things, most notably asking state workers that can work from home, to work from home.

So far around 30 percent of the state employees are working from home. They want to bump up that number another 25 percent, saying many just need a laptop, phone and internet, but they’re forced to come in.

They also want service centers like the DMV or state office building to be closed off to the public for the remainder of the month.

“I can’t go to my eye doctor right now, my eye doctor is closed. But I could go down to the DMV right now and put my face up against the eyeglass test and take my drivers test right now. I don’t know if that needs to happen in the next two weeks,” says Justin Hubly, executive director of NAPE, the union that represents state employees.

Finally they say those workers that are required to come to work, like correctional officers or those that work in veteran homes, should be paid $2 in hazard pay.

“The job that they’re doing right now is infinitely more stressful than it was a month ago,” says Hubly

Governor Ricketts didn’t give any ground during the press conference.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are working very very hard in really unusual circumstances. They’re doing their part, we got to do our part at the State of Nebraska,” says Ricketts.

The governor did have a suggestion to the workers who have ideas on how to make work safer.

“Talk to your supervisor, talk to them because we already have processes in place to do that process improvement,” says Ricketts.

But the group says vulnerable workers have tried this.

“They've asked their supervisor, please let me work from home, and the supervisor says I cannot accommodate that request,” Hubly.

“Our members are scared, and they’re anxious and I think the governor is an unique position to help us.”

The group did tell the media their lowest priority is the extra pay for those that do have to come to the office.

They’re much more concerned about the other two requests.