PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Public employee unions representing Oregon state workers have negotiated new contracts that would provide pay increases of up to 15% over the next two-year budget period.

The proposed contracts include both step increases and cost of living increases in each of the next two years.

Union officials say the wage increases are necessary to maintain Oregon’s competitiveness in attracting employees after recent wage growth in the private sector. However, the Oregonian/OregonLive reports most recent state salary survey suggests that state employees’ total compensation, which includes benefits, is already competitive.

The contracts still must be voted upon by union members and receive final approval by state lawmakers.

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