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Commission delays decision on state employee benefits

Rick Pluta
Unionized state employees picket outside a meeting of the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission has delayed until mid-January a decision on new state employee contracts. The commission was supposed to have the final say in a fight over wages and benefits – especially health care coverage. But the commission deadlocked.

“Everyone should care about this because all Michigan citizens deserve to have decent healthcare coverage,” said Ray Holman from UAW Local 6000, which represents thousands of state foster care and human services workers. “And the thing about it is, right now, the state is sitting on a huge surplus.”

State employees say higher co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs would erase the 2% pay raise they’re being offered.

Governor Rick Snyder defends the contract. He says the state’s finances are better than they were during the last contract talks.

“We’re looking at giving increases in terms of pay,” Snyder said. “We’re just asking for some reforms on the healthcare side.” 

Governor Rick Snyder says the state has to stabilize the costs of employee healthcare. Administration officials say the delay also complicates putting together a budget proposal to be presented early next year.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.