McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 5, 2013

Tuesday vote would allow city workers to organize

ENID, Okla. — Voters within city limits will vote Tuesday whether to allow city employees to bargain together for wages, benefits and other personnel issues.

If a majority of voters approve, city of Enid employees will be able to join American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and negotiate as a unit.

City employee and AFSCME local President Joey Breeze said the union has been campaigning since it turned in a signature petition earlier this year.

“We’ve been just hitting it every chance we get. Everything’s going all right,” he said.

The signature petition placed the question on the ballot. Because the most recent employment contract expired July 1, AFSCME immediately will begin negotiations with city management if the proposal passes.

“It’s going to allow us the right to bargain with the city management over working conditions, give us a little bit of a voice in the workplace. A little bit of a voice for the citizens of Enid,” Breeze said. “We’re out every day talking to them, hearing their concerns and whatnot. It allows us to go back to management and say what citizens are saying and would like to see.”

Although city employees would act as a union to negotiate personnel issues, they will not have the ability to strike or slowdown. If the city and AFSCME can’t agree to terms, contract negotiations will go into mediation or arbitration.

The reason for organizing into a collective bargaining unit is not about pay, Breeze said. Instead, it’s about letting city employees enjoy the same rights as uniformed police officers and firefighters.

“We’ve never went in asking for big pay raises,” Breeze said, noting a previous period when city employees were unionized. “That’s not what it’s been about. It’s about having the same rights police and fire have to negotiate their working conditions.”

He said he understands employees work for taxpayers, the same taxpayers who pay their wages.

“We want to serve them to the best of our ability. It’s about maintaining the benefits as we got them,” he said.

Those registered to vote within city limits can vote early at the County Election Board 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Polls are open Tuesday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State House
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.