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Governor and state workers' unions spar over layoffs

The stalemate between Gov. Donald Carcieri '65 and state workers' unions continued yesterday, as union leaders rejected the state's most recent plan to ease its budget woes. The proposed solution combines unpaid days off and delayed raises. 

The plan — which aims to avoid layoffs and the 12 furlough days originally proposed by the governor — calls for eight furlough days this fiscal year and the delay of a 3 percent pay raise from July 2010 to January 2011.

State employees would like to help the state save money, but could not agree to "diluted" language allowing Carcieri greater freedom in moving workers to different departments, said Michael Downey, president of Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest union representing state workers.

The roughly two-dozen union presidents who met yesterday decided the agreement was not good enough to send back to their members, Downey said, adding that the main sticking point was the language regarding re-organization.

The unions are open to more talks with the governor, but may move to arbitration next, Downey said.
The governor's office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


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