State worker Unions Rally On Eve Of Contract Decision

Dec 17, 2013

Thousands of state employees could see their health benefits reduced Wednesday.

Dozens of public employee union members protest Tuesday outside Governor Rick Snyder’s office, across from the state Capitol in Lansing.
Credit Jake Neher MPRN

  That’s if a state board votes to approve a new contract drawn up by an independent state panel.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher.

Chant -“The bosses get the gold mine, the workers get the shaft!”]

Public employee unions are protesting the contract proposal. They say it includes too many concessions while, at the same time, state officials are expecting a budget surplus.

Yvonne Cash is with UAW Local 6000, the largest state employee union in Michigan.

“The state is in a very good position, and then they’re continuing to ask the workers to give up much more” she says.

Thousands of workers would have to pay more out of their pockets for things like doctor’s visits. They would get a two-percent pay increase in each of the next two years.

Michigan budget officials say they still need to make significant savings for the state to be on solid financial ground. They say many state employees will actually save money with the new health plans because they include lower premiums.