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Wright County Human Services workers authorize intent to strike

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A work stoppage is looming for Wright County Human Services after 180 union workers voted this week to file a notice of their intent to strike, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Wright County's county seat is in Buffalo. The workers -- who are members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 65 Local 2685 -- are at odds with the county over wages and health insurance costs.

The employees have reportedly been working without a contract for more than a year.

According to a news release issued by the union Friday, the strike would include social workers, public health nurses, child support officers, financial workers and support staff.

Wright County social worker and president of Local 2685 Grace Baltich said the workers didn't believe there was "any economic reason right now to not give us cost of living increases and price us out of health insurance for our families."

The workers' business agent says employees receive a two and a half percent cost-of-living increase in 2011, but the new three-year contract proposed by the county includes no cost-of-living increases in 2012 or 2013, and a one percent cost-of-living increase in 2014.

The Monticello Times says it has been more than 20 years since a union representing Wright County employees has gone on strike.

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