Oklahoma Teachers, Fresh Off Strike, Face Paycheck Deception Legislation

Lest there be any doubt about the real impetus for paycheck deception legislation, look no further than Oklahoma.

The Sooner State recently saw an unlikely but successful teacher strike stemming from that state's neglect of public schools.

Think Progress reports some lawmakers are trying to take revenge on the union behind the strike, looking to convert a bill that started as an effort to fight child abuse into a vehicle for taking away the freedom of public school employees to choose to steer a portion of their own paycheck to labor association dues.

It's one of the model bills for the anti-union far right nationally, funded by the likes of the National Right to Work Foundation and the Koch Brothers, conceived by the likes of the American Legislative Exchange Council and supported in Texas by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business and Empower Texans. 

The play on this fits a pattern we have seen in Texas for years:

Weeks after tens of thousands of Oklahoma teachers ended their nine-day strike after securing major wins, including teacher raises and additional education funding, legislators introduced a bill that aims to hamper membership in the teachers unions that helped organized the walkouts.

The measure, Senate Bill 1150, began as a bill tackling child abuse, but was completely rewritten this week thanks to an amendment by state Rep. Todd Russ (R). The current version of the bill would require a majority vote by teachers every five years in order to keep their collective bargaining unit. It would also prohibit school districts from automatically subtracting union dues from teacher paychecks, leaving teachers to make their own plans with the union to make the payments... 

Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, told The Oklahoman that the legislation "seems like a revenge bill to come back after teachers, after the walkout."

Katherine Bishop, vice president of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), agreed, criticizing lawmakers for "singl[ing] the unions out." Bishop called the bill a "clear attack for teachers taking a stand and schools shutting down their doors and their voices being heard at the Capitol."

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