(Chicago News Cooperative) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and labor unions representing the majority of the city’s workforce were close to reaching a deal Wednesday to start a program that Emanuel hopes will help slash the cash-starved city’s annual $500 million tab for employee health care costs. City employees would be required to participate in a wellness program involving frequent health screenings or pay $50 a month more for medical insurance coverage, sources close to the negotiations told the Chicago News Cooperative. A team of Emanuel aides led by Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson have negotiated the agreement with leaders of virtually every major city labor group except for the police officers’ union, the sources said. Kathleen Strand, a spokeswoman for Angelson, declined comment on the negotiations. Since before taking office in May, Emanuel has promised to institute a wellness program, saying it could cut the city’s health care bill.
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