There was a time in Oklahoma when the state motto of Labor Conquers All meant something to working men and women.
Today, organized labor in Oklahoma and throughout the nation is but a shadow of itself. Workers in the public sector have a union membership nearly five times that of private sector employees.
An “All Hands on Deck, Or Else” rally this week at the Capitol generated little excitement.
About 150 front-line workers representing various agencies rallied at the Capitol.
The call for the rally was in response to what labor union organizers perceive as an all-out attack being waged on worker’s rights. These include threats and changes in pension plans, reduction in health benefit allowances, and attempts to privatize more parts of state government.
Union members are hoping to protect the benefits they have. There are about 2,000 members of the Oklahoma State Workers Union which is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America.
Members for the past six months have been meeting with Oklahoma legislators at the Capitol and in communities throughout the state. They fear state workers will bear the burden of the state’s budget crisis.