Okie Union Bustin’

It’s official: union bustin’ fever has spread to Oklahoma.  On Tuesday, the state Senate passed House Bill 1593, a bill that would strip away Oklahoma’s requirement that large cities engage in collective bargaining with so-called “non-uniformed” city workers. Newly-elected governor Mary Fallin is sure to sign the bill, which is just the latest in a long line of anti-union legislation passed in OK over the years.

Parallels to Wisconsin are few, however. Whereas Scott Walker’s assault on unions created a groundswell of support across the state (ensuring recall elections against 5 state senators already), Oklahoma doesn’t have the union presence to counter-act the measure. Additionally, where Walker made sure to insulate firefighters and police from his bill, Oklahoma republicans have gone one further and included teachers in the excepted groups.  With only certain categories of “uniformed” municipal workers subject to the law, this is not likely to cause a stir with any remaining public employees.

To understand what possesses those who run our state government to get it so wrong, I offer up a quote from Choctaw Republican Sen. Cliff Aldridge, a sponsor of the bill, in an interview with the Tulsa World:

Aldridge said municipal workers should have the ability to discuss pay raises or other concerns with city officials without collective bargaining, and that workers always have a choice to seek employment elsewhere.

“We don’t need to mandate that they (city officials) listen,” Aldridge said. “That’s not our job at the state Legislature to make sure these people get paid what they ought to get paid.”

And that, my friends, is the perfect summation of Okie Republican’s view of governance: it’s not our job as your elected representative to make sure you’re treated fairly and if you don’t like it, you’re free to work somewhere else.


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