Change to Union Benefits Could Impact Lawmakers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - If a pending arbitration award for state workers includes Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal that workers pay part of their health insurance costs for the first time, it could prompt similar benefit changes for state lawmakers.

Like state workers, legislators have access to health plans that don't require a monthly contribution. Some lawmakers say they will review their benefits after the award is announced Thursday.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Pam Jochum says lawmakers "don't put ourselves above other state workers."

Branstad wants union members in Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to start paying a portion of their health care costs. The union is seeking to maintain current health benefits and 3 percent raises over the life of the two-year contract.

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