The state of Michigan and unions representing tens of thousands of state employees were unable to reach agreements on contracts set to expire at the end of the year. An impasse panel on Wednesday was scheduled to hear testimony from both sides before submitting recommendations to the Michigan Civil Service Commission by Nov. 27. The commission is scheduled to meet on Dec. 18 review and act on any impasse panel recommendations.

More than 80 state workers picketed outside the commission's office on Pine Street in downtown Lansing on Wednesday morning.

"They're asking for concessionary bargaining, they're asking for drastic cutbacks in health insurance, they're asking for things that aren't necessary at this time," said Ray Holman, spokesman for UAW Local 6000, which represents 17,000 state workers. "We're not talking about something extravagant. We're talking about a fair contract, meaning decent pay and quality benefits."
Unionized state employees protest proposed labor contract as negotiations go to impasse panel | MLive.com