Public Employee Advocate
Loud and Clear
State employees like Ron Franz believe North Dakota United will help make the public aware of the essential role they play and their contributions to the state's quality of life.
IN FEBRUARY, the North Dakota Public Employees Association and the North Dakota Education Association merged to form North Dakota United, making it the state’s largest public employee union, with more than 10,000 members. North Dakota’s state employees and educators will now have a louder, stronger and more united voice.
When longtime NDPEA activist Mike Stebbins heard about the proposed merger, he was one of the first to sign on.
“The bottom line is that teachers and state employees here in North Dakota have been having the same fights with the Legislature,” says Stebbins, who says he’s long been a believer in unions and the concept of strength in numbers.
Those fights include opposing legislative proposals to limit public employee pay raises and retirement benefits, he points out. The two unions have also come together to mobilize against efforts to pass statewide initiatives that would reduce tax revenues.
Stebbins, who works for the state’s Department of Transportation, also worries that the union-busting he’s seen in other states will find its way to North Dakota. “So far, they are not trying to bust our unions, but we need to stay one step ahead because of what has happened in places like Wisconsin.”