Worker Rights

Oklahoma City, OK – Okla. Senate panel votes to axe city union rights

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma could join Wisconsin among the states moving to reduce collective bargaining rights for municipal workers under a Republican-sponsored bill approved by a Senate committee.

The bill passed the Senate General Government Committee on Monday on a 5-3 party-line vote, with all three Democrats on the panel opposing the measure. The bill would allow Oklahoma cities with populations over 35,000 to determine if they want to allow their municipal employees to collectively bargain.

Non-uniformed city workers like sanitation employees, road crews and water treatment plant operators in cities with more than 35,000 people were given the right to collectively bargain under a bill passed by the Legislature in 2004.

Midwest City municipal employee Matt Thomas says he's disappointed with the committee's vote. He says employees in Midwest City successfully negotiated their first contract that included better safety equipment for workers.