Our story starts in September of 2016. After a series of serious assaults in the Nebraska Corrections Facilities a group of workers had decided that that there needed to be a change. We decided to meet the State of Nebraska FOP. We met in the basement of Keating O’Gara. There was 22 of us. We explained to the State FOP why we needed change. We agreed in the meeting that we needed to organize. We got together two weeks later. We had staff members from Tecumseh and Omaha who came to that meeting. We elected an interim board there and we began the daunting task of creating this new Union.
We were told by our legal experts that we had to collect 30 percent of all bargaining units signatures to create this new union. We accomplished this with over 700 signatures. We then went through a lengthy court battle with NAPE/AFSCME. We lost our first petition drive due to a technicality. The board agreed we must try again. We then began our second petition drive and collected over 800 signatures that time. That time we were successful. We were certified in July of 2018.
FOP 88 then had another task to complete. We had to bargain. We started bargaining in October of 2018. We had a lengthy discussion with state about how working conditions in Correction and in DHHS secure facilities needed to change. The State decided to not take these issues seriously. After over six months of court battles and bargaining we made an agreement with State. This included over 12.5% raises for senior staff.
FOP 88 has a lot more to accomplish. We went from 35 members to now over 850 members. We accomplished a lot in very little time. With our members support our mission is to continue to fight to make our working conditions better and to better represent the courageous work we all do.