One day after Governor Keating kicks off his right-to-work campaign, Teamsters fire back. Union workers hold a rally this evening to help get out the vote. KOTV's Sean Mossman was there and says truckers from around the nation joined local union workers at the fairgrounds Wednesday evening.
They promised to battle to the end in the war over state question 695. They come by land, big rigs from all over the nation. Driven by union men like Scott Klingler, an Ohio Teamster. On their way to the teamsterâ€™s national convention in Las Vegas, the driver swings through Oklahoma to help fight right-to-work. The state question would allow non-union employees to benefit from Union contracts. Union leaders say it will also leave employees unprotected. "Right to work is employers the right to just dump you any old time that they want. Not have to collectively bargain with you. Pretty much to have labor at their will and it doesn't matter what the worker wants." More than a hundred potential voters stopped to see the big rigs and listen to union leaders argue against state question 695. Rod Alvarez with the Tulsa Machinists Local 1461 says, "The Governor come out yesterday with his campaign." The even comes only a day after Governor Keating visits Tulsa to kick off a campaign to approve the measure.
Both sides have until September 25th to make their cases to the people of Oklahoma. Unions argue that passage will drive wages down and create a higher unemployment rate. Proponents of the law say it would help Oklahoma compete for new business in the region. Alvarez adds, "If it's so good in Arkansas and Kansas and Texas, then why isn't there an exodus of people from Oklahoma going to those states. Because we enjoy the quality of life here."
Currently less than 9% of all workers in Oklahoma belong to a union. Union leaders say only six percent of all state workers will be affected by right-to-work, but that that's still too many.