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State workers rally against pay freeze, retirement plan

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network



About a hundred state employees marched on the state Capitol Tuesday as lawmakers continue to consider plans to save money by reducing the number of government workers and their salaries and benefits.

The plans include convincing thousands of teachers and public employees to accept early retirement. Those that don't accept the deal would lose some health benefits. The Legislature is also debating a pay freeze on thousands of unionized state employees who were promised a three percent raise this year.

Michigan A-F-of-L C-I-O President Mark Gaffney told the rally the state should look at tax reforms and other cost savings before asking state workers for more concessions.

"There are 200-thousand businesses in this state that pay no taxes," he says. "I don't see em out there! Where are they? Are they part of this conversation? They should be! They should be!"

The deadline is approaching for approving the pay freezes and retirement plans, which are stalled amid wide opposition from Democrats.

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