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State Workers Rally for Pensions, Pay (Feb 21, 2011)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Hundreds of state employees rallied at the Oklahoma Capitol to urge lawmakers to retain their pension benefits and implement a total compensation package that would include better salaries.

Although Monday, President's Day, was a state holiday, the state House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate were in session.

Legislative leaders say reforming state pension systems is a top priority this year because of their collective $16.5 billion unfunded liability. But state workers want their pension benefits to remain as they are, according to officials at the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, which represents about 10,000 of the state's 36,000 workers.

State workers also want better salaries. The OPEA says state workers' salaries are on average 16 percent below salaries in the private sector.

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