Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) delivered a sucker punch to low-wage workers today by signing into law a bill that would ban Oklahoma cities from raising their municipal minimum wages above the state minimum wage. The bill also prohibits cities from mandating paid vacation days or sick days. Oklahoma’s minimum wage is identical to the federal minimum wage of 7.25 an hour. An initiative is underway in Oklahoma City to raise the city’s minimum wage to a more reasonable 10.10 an hour, but Fallin’s signature could effectively kill that initiative.
The Republican Governor’s decision to sign the bill into law once again demonstrates the GOP’s contempt towards American workers. Fallin and Oklahoma GOP lawmakers have no interest in seeing wages improve nor are they concerned if workers have to take time off without compensation due to illness. Proponents of the measure argue that raising the minimum wage will hurt business in the state of Oklahoma, but the reality is that some of America’s most successful businesses are based in city’s with higher wages and more productive work forces like Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Mary Fallin had a consistently anti-union record as a member of Congress, including opposition to allowing collective bargaining rights even for police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel. Now as the chief executive of the state of Oklahoma she continues to demonstrate her hostility towards improving pay or working conditions for ordinary workers. Fallin joins other GOP Governor’s like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, in fighting to keep workers from getting paid what their labor is worth.
Mary Fallin, like so many other GOP Governors, is up for re-election in November 2014. Low wage workers and Oklahoma residents who believe city’s should have the right to give the workers in their town a pay raise, should make sure to vote Fallin out on Election day.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.