SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Negotiations between the state and unions representing government workers are heating up over the state's demand that employees chip in part of their health care premiums.

The issue is perhaps the biggest hurdle separating the parties as they negotiate a labor contract for at least the next two years. Oregon is one of at least eight states that pay the entire health care premium for their workers, but Gov. John Kitzhaber's administration is demanding they pay 5 percent of their premiums.

"It's very hard bargaining," said Gail Parnell, the state's chief negotiator. "State employees have been under pay freezes and unpaid days for the last few years. The state budget is still not good, so facing more of the same is discouraging."

Continue Reading for Free

Register and gain access to:

  • Breaking benefits news and analysis, on-site and via our newsletters and custom alerts
  • Educational webcasts, white papers, and ebooks from industry thought leaders
  • Critical converage of the property casualty insurance and financial advisory markets on our other ALM sites, PropertyCasualty360 and ThinkAdvisor

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.