The national leader of the United Auto Workers and representatives of Gov. Rick Snyder's administration have marked the start of contract talks between Michigan and its largest employees union.
UAW President Bob King and other union and state government officials shook hands in Lansing Wednesday afternoon. It signifies the start of labor negotiations.
The contract for 17,000 state employees in UAW Local 6000 ends Dec. 31.
The talks come amid tension between organized labor and Snyder over his signing of a right-to-work law. Courts have yet to decide if the law making it optional for unionized employees to pay union fees applies to state workers.
The state says it's facing similar health care cost pressures as businesses, while the UAW says it wants to ensure employees get middle-class compensation.