The Oklahoma Public Employees Association recently surveyed its members regarding The Oklahoman’s attempt to gain access to state employee birth dates and other information.
“We like to make sure we are staying connected to our membership,” said OPEA Deputy Director Scott Barger. “More than 200 people took part in the survey and voted overwhelmingly in support of OPEA’s fight to keep this information private.”
According to the survey, 94 percent did not want their private information released to The Oklahoman and considered the request an unwarranted invasion of their privacy.
“Just because a person has chosen state employment as a career doesn’t mean they have given up their privacy rights. The Oklahoman is on a witch hunt trying to build revenue from slamming state employees,” said one participant. Another member stated: “How can a newspaper have a right to anyone’s personal information? The media only prints the information that will raise their income and not the whole truth.”
In addition, the OPEA office has received many calls and emails from state employees encouraging OPEA to continue the fight. One caller said: “Thank you OPEA for supporting state employees and being there in our corner. The Oklahoman newspaper has always been against us.” Another email stated: “What a great story showing the strength of OPEA. If you were not the defenders of state employees, they would not be coming after you. Keep it up OPEA!”
As a result of OPEA’s efforts to protect state employees, The Oklahoman has launched a smear campaign against the Association.“Clearly The Oklahoman’s staff is taking a scorched earth tactic to try and stop OPEA’s efforts to protect state employees,” Barger said. “They are attacking OPEA, state employees and any legislator who supports state employee’s efforts to maintain their privacy. These two reporters have a lot to answer for and the Association will not waiver in protecting state employee’s safety. They call themselves a new breed of journalists, finding stories through data mining. To us, it’s simply two privacy pirates.”
On behalf of the Association’s Board of Directors, chapter officers and staff,
OPEA thanks all the state employees for your confidence and encouragement.