State Agency Employees To Consider Walkout Options
OKLAHOMA CITY - Just like teachers in Oklahoma, state agency employees said they're fed up and ready for action.
In response to low pay and budget cuts, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) is now weighing its walkout options.
The OPEA represents state employees who provide critical services to Oklahomans.
“I don’t care who you are, state employees touch your life every day,” said Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “You drive on roads, you eat in restaurants,” he added. “We have correctional officers who incarcerate people who we don’t want out in the community.”
Zearley said the OPEA asked all of its 10,000 members for their thoughts and phone calls and emails came rolling in. Many shared their struggles to make ends meet.
One employee wrote in part, "We need raises and cost of living adjustments each year. Our legislators won't act unless we do something. I am ready to walk out.”
Thursday, the OPEA supported the Oklahoma Education Association as it laid out demands ahead of a looming teacher walkout. And now, the OPEA is considering its own options.
At a meeting Saturday morning, its board could potentially approve a plan to support a state employee walkout.
The OPEA is asking for a $71 million pay raise this year and also fiscal years 2020 and 2021. They'd also like to start restoring the reductions state agencies have taken over the last 7-8 years.