Largest state worker union reaches contract deal

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Negotiators for Oregon's largest state workers union have struck a contract deal, ending months of uncertainty and speculation about a possible strike.

The Salem Statesman Journal reports the deal struck Saturday by the Service Employees International Union means union workers will begin paying 5 percent of their health insurance premiums by 2012. The deal also includes a $40-per-month premium subsidy to lower-paid workers.

The deal still needs to be ratified by the union's rank-and-file membership.

A similar deal was reached last week with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Workers in both unions will receive two cost-of-living pay increases in the next 18 months.

SEIU workers will take between 10 and 14 unpaid furlough days under the deal, depending on their level of pay.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com