State Employees Say House Revenue Plan Won’t Avert Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - State employees say they will likely still be walking out on April 2, even if the Senate passes the current revenue bill on the table.
Most state employees had until Wednesday, March 28, to turn in leave requests if they wanted to participate in next week's walkout.
Now, agency heads are figuring out who is going to be gone and what state offices will need to be closed.
Some driver's license bureau's, rural DHS offices, even possibly historical museums could be closed Monday.
“Right now, we’re still planning on a rally on April 2nd,” said Tom Dunning, Communications Director with OPEA.
In order to avert a walkout, OPEA said it wanted $71 million for raises this year, a total of $213 million over three years.
On the night of Monday, March 26, the House passed a revenue bill that includes $64 million for state employee raises.
“From what we’re hearing from our state employees across the state is it’s insufficient to really meet their needs,” said Dunning.
OPEA said like teachers, state agencies are losing qualified employees and point to a report by OMES that shows last year classified employee turnover cost taxpayers 127,538,864 million dollars. And so, OPEA is asking the Senate to amend the plan and send it back to the House for another vote.
“State employees, many of them went 10 years or more without a state appropriated pay raise and there’s a belief that it would be another 10 years before a state employee pay raise is passed again. History shows us that,” said Dunning.
In addition, union members say they want the state to restore some of the funding agencies have been cut in recent years.