Washington state is currently in negotiations with its 60,000 employees over health care coverage.

The union representing the majority of those workers hopes to have an agreement by the October 1 deadline.

Under the current health care agreement, state workers pay 15 percent of their premiums, with the state picking up the rest.

Critics say the state should force its employees to bear more of the financial burden. But state workers say they already do in other ways.

Not too many people realize that 82 percent of our fellow employees make less than what the private sector does, said DSHS employee John Lindsay. So having a good health care package is very important to us.

According to the Washington Federation of State Employees, state workers have not gotten a raise since 2008.

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