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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tulsa Workers Win the Right to Organize

Congratulations are in order to AFSCME Tulsa local 1180. They pulled it off. The local has worked very hard since late September to get an ordinance that recognizes all Tulsa City Employees currently recognized through OMECBA’s right to have a union and requires the City to collectively bargain with employees. On January 12th, 2011, “the City Council voted “unanimously” to pass the new ordinance” according to Mike Rider, AFSCME local 1180 president.

Previously, language existed in the City Ordinance recognizing employees including LT (Labor-Trades) and EC (Emergency Communications). This language has been in the ordinance since the 80’s.

The new ordinance language adds employees classified as AT (Administrative and Technical), OT (Office and Technical), AO (Airport Safety Officers), IT (Information Technician), IS (Information Systems). Paul Woodard pointed out, “the new ordinance covers everyone that was covered by OMECBA, and no one is being left out.”

The 9 – 0 vote was a surprise to everyone. “We knew going into the council meeting that there were had enough votes to pass the ordinance, but the 9-0 vote was a wonderful surprise”, said local 1180’s political chair John Vaughn. One of the surprise votes came from councilor G.T. Bynum who had been opposed to the ordinance until that night of the council meeting. Bynum queried Interim City Attorney, David Pauling as to the legitimacy of the ordinance. Pauling said that the ordinance “merely complies with the Municipal Employee Collective Bargaining Act (MECBA). Bynum changed his vote to yes.

Vaughn further pointed out, that “we have been in constant contact with City Council members most of the last three months” as they worked to achieve this victory.

Mike Rider was quick to share credit for the victory with everyone in the local saying, “Everyone helped. This has been an across the board effort.”


Matthew E Jordan
Labor Omnia Vincit
AFSCME Field Staff/Western Region
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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