Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Public Employees Group Wants 10% Pay Increase

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Public Employees Group Wants 10% Pay Increase

Article excerpt

of up to $100 million in the state employees and teachers health insurance plan top the 1990 legislative agenda for the 35,000-member Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

Pat Hall, association executive director, said the organization also would work for a constitutional amendment to allow state workers to obtain liquor licenses to hold part-time jobs in establishments that sell it.

Hall said 7 percent of the 35,000 state employees earn salaries below the poverty level, and are eligible for all welfare programs.

More than 400 state employees make below $11,600 a year, he said.

State Sen. Appropriations Chairman Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, will introduce a cost-of-living measure for state employees that Hall said hopefully would provide a three to four-step pay increase.

Looking at each step as a 2.5 percent increase, Hall said the organization is hoping for a minimum 10 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state workers that would cost the state between $50 million and $60 million.

Turning to the health insurance plan, which is the subject of a legislative task force study, Hall said the program is currently between $50 million and $100 million in debt.

Hall said officials have estimated that $30 million is needed to shore up the health insurance reserves, which lawmakers have said they might appropriate from the Constitutional Reserve "Rainy Day" Fund.

The state currently contributes $92 a month per individual for health insurance, a figure set in 1985, he said.

To cover an individual now, that contribution would have to be raised to $150 a month. Hall said the association is asking the state to contribute $225 a month to cover the individual, dependents and retirees. …

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