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State employee unions call for cost-saving measures in budget

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI –
State employee unions are calling on lawmakers to approve government reforms that the unions say would save the state tens of millions of dollars. A report says Michigan government has too many managers compared to workers who directly deliver services to the public. It also says the state spends more on outside contracts than it does on its civil service workforce.

Phil Thompson is with union SEIU 517M. He says he knows time is running short to influence lawmakers on the current budget.

"Realistically we understand that the elements in this report aren't going to be able to be handled in the next week or so," he says. "What we want to do is set the foundation for an intelligent, in-depth discussion that will generate savings in fiscal 2012, but more importantly to generate millions of dollars in savings in future years."

The state employee unions say efficiencies could save the state about $185 million dollars in the coming year, if lawmakers approved the changes before October.

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