OPEA Asking For $2,500 Pay Raise

Thursday, May 9th 2019, 5:56 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state has a roughly $600 million budget surplus after a series of tax increases last year.

Now, state employees say they want a $90 million piece of that pie.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association said pay is so low, the turnover rate is 20 percent, except in the Department of Corrections, where turnover is 40 percent per year. They say public employees simply aren't paid enough.

So OPEA is asking for a $2,500 pay raise for each of the state's 34,000 employees. They say roughly a quarter of those employees make less than $15 an hour, and the raises would amount to about $1 more per hour after taxes. Lawmakers say they're looking at raises, but they can't guarantee that much.

State employees say a walkout is out of the question. They say state police, corrections officers and health workers can't just walk off the job.