State Workers Frustrated By Regents Pay Raises

Oklahoma’s state workers, many of whom have not had a pay raise in several years, are frustrated to learn that the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have given their employees a five percent pay increase. These raises were approved while a study is underway to determine how state employee compensation compares to other employers that compete for the same workforce. During the last legislative session, state leaders were reluctant to grant any changes in compensation until after the study’s findings and recommendations were released.

“The regents authorizing a raise for their employees while other state employees wait demonstrates how uneven the current compensation system is,” said Sterling Zearley OPEA Executive Director. “Employees of large agencies get passed over for raises because of the overall expense of granting raises while employees of smaller agencies might get raises because the total cost is not as great. The regents raise is just another example of where some groups of state employees are treated differently than others.”

The compensation study is scheduled to be completed in time for recommendations to be made prior to the 2014 legislative session. State leaders have said that after the state employee compensation study was completed, they would consider similar studies for higher education and common education employees.

OPEA believes the differences in how raises may be funded create an environment where some workers get raises more frequently than others creating frustration among those who have not had raises in several years.
“During the legislative session, state workers were told that raises weren't possible until the study was completed because after the study we would have a better perspective on how to address employee pay in fair and responsible way,” he said. “There should be consistency on how all state employees’ pay is determined regardless of which agency they work for.”

“After May’s tornadoes and the tremendous response by state troopers, legislators discussed raising trooper pay. The raise did not happen because leadership and the governor’s office wanted to wait until after the study,” Zearley said. “Three months later, the regents give pay raises to their staff. This just adds to the frustration that troopers, correctional officers, social workers and other workers feel.”

OPEA has told state officials that Oklahoma must develop a fair and responsible compensation program for all state agencies that brings state employee pay closer to market and also includes a plan that ensures compensation stays competitive with other employers. A fair compensation plan will help reduce high state-worker turnover which costs Oklahoma taxpayers millions annually.

8 comments (Add your own)

1. concerned wrote:
As I recall, this is the 2nd or 3rd raise that the State Teachers have been given raises in the 7 years I have worked for DHS. State Troopers and State employees, and other gov. agencies does not evan get a raise compared to State Teachers. Something is not right.Reguardless of storms, catasterfies, the State Teachers still get larger raises.

Tue, August 13, 2013 @ 4:25 PM

2. Larry J. Meilleur wrote:
Did you hear this governor Fallin ?

Wed, August 14, 2013 @ 7:07 AM

3. Melinda Clark wrote:
This absolutely makes me sick! We have not had a pay raise in over a year! This year our pay was cut 90.00 because of no pay raise and health insurance premiums increased! The thought of 2014 insurance premiums is making me ill, just thinking about how I will be able to support my family if my check is lowered by another 90.00, on top of the previous 90.00 I had to adjust to. My entire check goes to bills, I literally had 30.00 spare a month for one pizza a month from pizza hut. With no raise for 2014, I foresee me having to chose between a cell phone or TV. This is so unreal, we are required to have a bachelors degree, but yet your pay will never increase. People working here 20 years makes the same amount as a person working here 3 years. Something needs to be done and soon.

Thu, August 15, 2013 @ 1:59 PM

4. Frustrated/Disgusted wrote:
1 Yr.? Try not getting "anything" for 8 yrs. My pay check has dropped by hundreds over these past years. And here we DOC employees continiue to put our lives on the line daily.

Thu, August 15, 2013 @ 4:50 PM

5. Bryan wrote:
I hear you Melinda. Father of 5 here and also live paycheck to paycheck. I think its ridiculous the things our own governor allows to happen. I know how to vote next time around.

Fri, August 16, 2013 @ 9:46 PM

6. Melinda Clark wrote:
That is what I meant! I live pay check to pay check now, that I have lost track of how many years it has been since we had a raise. It has been 8 years for us too. What is really annoying is that nobody in the state office would hear of this if they were in our shoes!!!

Mon, August 19, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

7. Mary wrote:
Just found out I am taking a $1100 pay cut for next year because insurance went up. Also found out the State Regents pay went up. May have to take the advice of one Legislator and find a job in the private sector.

Mon, August 19, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

8. Bonnie wrote:
I have been employed with Dept of Transportation for approx. 14 years and we have not seen a pay increase in over the last 7 years.

I had to work 4 to 5 days a week to help with the bills. I finally gave up the 2nd job a few months ago and have come to realize that I will require another job again.

Many of the state employees I have met and talked to have a second job.

Some of them actually qualify for welfare assisstance. How sad is that?

Thu, August 22, 2013 @ 10:37 PM

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