OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking state employees' unions to reopen their contracts and agree to higher health insurance costs.
In a letter to the unions, Office of Financial Management Director Marty Brown cites the projected imbalance of $1.4 billion between projected state revenues and scheduled state expenses in General Fund programs.
"Due to the continuing decline in revenue, the state is requesting that the coalition of unions agree to reooeb the 2011-13 health care benefits agreement in order to negotiate a reduction in the employer premium contribution," Brown says in the letter.
He acknowledges that unions have made concessions in their current contract, which was approved by the Legislature earlier this year. "However, because of the seemingly unrelenting pressure that the Great Recession has had on revenues and increased caseloads, state employees may be called upon yet again to sacrifice."