Legislation, not for the people

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Legislation, not for the people

Capitol Building of Oklahoma.

Capitol Building of Oklahoma.

Photo Provided

Capitol Building of Oklahoma.

Photo Provided

Photo Provided

Capitol Building of Oklahoma.

Daniel Hildebrand and Chad Synan

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In their first session of the year, the Oklahoma State Legislature introduced a new bill to the floor that will serve to prohibit both teachers and members of the board of education from any form of striking -including “to threaten to strike”- or interfering with school operations as a means of resolving differences (with the Board) at the cost of both their wages and certification from the State Board of Education. This latent amendment is a conundrum both to the state employees subject to it and to the mass of society….

Most individuals, when asked about the issue, might appeal to a piece of federal legislation (such as Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act which protects the right of workers to strike) to serve as the solution, but this is only binding on members of the private sector. Individuals employed by the state are wholly at the whim of their representatives as to whether their right to strike is protected, which is problematic when one considers that the only difference between these two groups of people is the boss signing their paychecks.

Moreover, there are a litany of rights that are provided to workers in the United States that are not provided to our state employees. The most prevalent example would be Oklahoma’s passage of the notorious “right to work laws” in 2001(right to work laws are laws that prohibit employers from requiring employees to be part of a union, which in turn creates a free rider problem that can be readily abused) it becomes evident that our legislature has preferred to divest state employees (specifically teachers in this context) of crucial powers that should be jealously guarded.

With the importance of education and teachers among the vast majority of Oklahomans, the question of why this bill would be written in the first place deserves to be answered. More than just parents should be concerned by the representatives drafting this bill. With the examples of United States v. Lopez, the ability of students to learn affects commerce. Under the current circumstances in which Oklahoma is far behind the National standard in terms of education and Students to Administration ratio, public opinion on education is at an all time low. So when the people’s elected officials decide to inhibit the rights and ability of teachers to do their job it is completely reasonable for the majority of the population to be enraged by the blindsight.

The malfeasance of this complacent ignominious Oklahoma Legislature cannot be taken lightly. It is a question of their legitimacy when drafting bills (such as 2214) that do not represent the will of the people.

 

Contact: Daniel Hildebrand [email protected]

Contact: Chad Synan [email protected]

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