OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign HB 1593, which passed the state legislature on April 19. It repeals the Municipal Employees Bargaining Act of 2004, which allowed non-uniformed state employees to bargain for their wages and working conditions. The main victims of this legislation are sanitation workers in the nine cities that had not already repealed bargaining rights by local laws.
Oklahoma AFL-CIO President Jimmy Curry told reporters it’s “a sad day for city workers in Oklahoma!” The Author of the bill is Republican Rep. Steve Martin. The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill 29-19.
One labor activist said, “This puts the municipal employees on an uneven footing for bargaining their contracts when they come up for renegotiation. The main danger to workers’ rights is if this remains unchallenged then similar laws may be enacted in smaller communities. It could spread to uniformed workers here. We are seeing the dismantling of workers’ collective bargaining rights and the right to form unions.”