Cooper restores state worker association benefits and access

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has essentially reversed an order by his Republican predecessor that scaled back benefits for North Carolina’s primary state employee union.

Cooper’s executive order restores benefits offered to the State Employees Association of North Carolina by previous Democratic governors but had been removed by GOP Gov. Pat McCrory in late 2015.

Cooper’s order Thursday again gives delegates and officers of the State Employees Association of North Carolina and similar groups up to three days of approved leave to attend its annual convention. McCrory had argued it cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to offer association members paid convention leave.

The new governor also restored the ability of the association to go on executive branch agency property occasionally to recruit members.