RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's workers should have a voice in a study of the compensation plan that the General Assembly is planning, some state employees and their supporters said Wednesday at a news conference that also addressed working conditions and the need for collective bargaining rights.

"State workers are drowning right now from years of cutbacks in our programs and services, stagnant wages and job cuts," said Angaza Laughinghouse, an employee in the state Administration Department and president of UE150, a public service workers union in North Carolina. "And it's very important that we as state workers have a voice in this process that's unfolding."

That process must include public hearings "so that state workers in communities can have some input and have a voice," he said. "This is very important in terms of the present economic crisis."

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