Lansing Measure Shift Health Costs To Workers 5-18-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Lansing Measure Shift Health Costs To Workers 5-18-2011

Republicans who control the Michigan Senate are continuing their push to require public employees in the state to pay at least 20 percent of their health insurance premiums.
The Senate approved measures aimed at adopting the requirement Wednesday by 25-13 and 26-12 votes mostly along party lines. The measures advance to the Republican-led House.
Republicans say the measures are designed to control government costs in an era of stressed government budgets at the state and local levels.
Democrats and labor leaders say health care costs should be handled during contract negotiations between public employee unions and employers, not through state law.
The legislation would affect employees with the state, local governments, public school districts, public universities and other public employers.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the Michigan Senate have approved a bill that would freeze pay and benefits for union-represented public employees including teachers working under expired contracts.
The bill that passed by a 21-17 mostly party-line vote Wednesday now returns to the Republican-led House, which already has passed the bill and could soon send it to Gov. Rick Snyder.
The bill calls for public employers to provide no more than current pay and benefits after the expiration date of a collective bargaining agreement until a new contract is in place. It would eliminate or freeze so-called step increases sometimes paid by school districts regardless of contract status.
Democrats say the bill dabbles in issues that should be left to local decision-makers. Republicans say the changes would give unions more incentive to bargain.
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