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Wis. state union approves contract

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The largest state employees union has approved a new contract that calls for increased health care and pension contributions.

Officials with the Wisconsin State Employees Union issued a statement Friday saying its members have approved the deal, which covers the two years that end June 30, 2011.

The contract calls for increases in health care premiums ranging from 5 percent to 7 percent. They also require increases in pension contributions ranging from 0.2 percent to 0.8 percent.

The deal could be a sore spot for incoming Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker, who has called for 12 percent increases in pension contributions to help plug the state’s deficit. But the Democratic-controlled Legislature is expected to approve the deal this week, before Walker takes office.

Spokesman Cullen Werwie says given the deficit, Walker “remains focused on bringing public employee benefits in line with the private sector.”

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