State leaders and members of Michigan's largest employees union are preparing to bargain.
The opening day of contract negotiations for UAW Local 6000 begins Thursday. President Sandra Parker says health benefits are a big issue this time around, "We've given more then anybody in this state, more then the legislature, more then anybody above us so we don't feel we owe anymore."
State employee and Primary Bargaining Team Chair Ed Mitchell says working conditions are a concern too, "Because of early retirement, people are doing the work of two and three people. They are really burning out fast. They've been told they can't get any relief now because of the state's budget situation."
The Governor's office says simply, "Let the talks begin."
Some 17,000 state employees are represented by UAW Local 6000.