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Saturday, November 15, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Home-care workers ratify new contract with state

SEATTLE — Home-care workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with the state, a scaled-back version of a pact they approved last year that the Legislature rejected as too expensive.

The ballots were counted yesterday, and 94 percent voted to ratify the contract, said Adam Glickman, communications director for Service Employees International Union Local 775.

The real test will come in a few months, though, when home-care workers and their union try to persuade the Legislature to include the contract in the budget.

The new contract would add 50 cents to the workers' current hourly wage of $8.43, provide worker's-compensation protection for all 26,000 home-care providers and health insurance for those who work at least half time.

Home-care workers, who provide services to elderly and disabled people to help them live at home, currently get no benefits.

The contract now goes to Gov. Gary Locke.

By law, he must submit it to the Legislature, either as part of his budget or separately.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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