Oklahoma’s 12 biggest cities likely will be free soon to strip collective bargaining rights from non-uniformed personnel after a measure passed through both houses of the state Legislature, reports The Oklahoman
|Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin
Now the bill is awaiting the approval of Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it into law.
The cities will not have to agree to rescind collective bargaining; the measure leaves it up to them. “It's about a principle that I believe in — local control,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Cliff Aldridge.
The bill passed through the Senate by a 29-19 majority yesterday. All Democrats and three Republicans voted against. It had already passed through the House.
It affects employees such as sanitation workers, 911 operators, trash collectors, mechanics, animal control officers, and many office workers. The Democratic Minority leader Andrew Rice said the bill disrespects people who do “dirty jobs.”
The Oklahoma bill follows on the bitterly fought battles in Wisconsin and Ohio to curb union power. It repealed a 2004 law requiring cities with populations of more than 35,000 to have collective bargaining.
It is not yet clear which cities will take advantage of the move if the governor signs it into law. In the state’s largest municipality, Oklahoma City, city manager Jim Couch said he had a good working relationship with the non-uniformed employee union.
“I don’t foresee this legislation changing that,” Couch said.
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