Health - June 10, 2011

PA unemployment benefits set to expire

Approximately 45,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians could see their extended benefits expire by next Friday.  Benefits actually expire on June 11; however, recipients will probably not see a disruption of benefits until next Friday.  Recipients are being notified by the labor department that the federal extended benefits program is ending. 

As Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate improves the system is triggered to no longer recognize the need for extended benefits.  State lawmakers are considering two bills that would allow the extension of benefits to continue.  Senator John Gordner, R-Columbia and Representative Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, have both introduced legislation to extend benefits as well as make other changes to the unemployment system.  Gordner’s bill, with changes to reform the system, is on track to be moving through the legislature next week.

State workers, Corbett to meet on contracts

Governor Corbett’s administration and 17 state employee unions are trying to come to an agreement on new contracts prior to the expiration of many of the current collective bargaining agreements and the new fiscal year.  Discussions among Corbett’s team and the unions are set for the week of June 20.

Union representatives say that Corbett is looking to “cut pay by four percent, to be restored during the life of a three year deal, five unpaid furlough days per year and health insurance give-backs.”  The union says that a pay cut is no way to start discussions and that the one year wage freeze the union offered to take was rejected.