Senate passes bill banning payroll deductions for union dues
By TIM TALLEY – Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – School districts would be prohibited from deducting union dues from teachers’ checks under a bill approved Thursday in the Oklahoma Senate following a contentious debate in which opponents accused the measure’s supporters of bashing public school teachers.
Senators approved the measure 27-16 and sent it to Gov. Mary Fallin just days before thousands of Oklahoma educators, parents and school administrators are scheduled to rally at the Capitol to demand more funding for classrooms and better salaries.
“We’re going to tick off a bunch of teachers. We’re all of a sudden going to rile up the teachers against us,” Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, said of the measure, which divided the Senate’s majority GOP caucus. Shortey and other opponents tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill. Senators on both sides noted that they’d been subjected to bullying in email and social media by organizations for and against the measure.
Though the bill makes it illegal for any state agency to make payroll deductions for employees for membership dues in any organization that collectively bargains on behalf of its members, opponents say it was directed specifically at teachers who are members of the Oklahoma Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The measure doesn’t apply to state employees who are members of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association or municipal employees like police or firefighters.