OPEA Discusses Alternative Work Week with OKDHS 55H Chapter

OPEA recently hosted a luncheon at the OKDHS Chapter 55H county office to discuss issues including the alternative work week, as well as the importance of being registered to vote. More than a dozen workers attended with most already OPEA members. The proposed alternative work week would help relieve state employees of some of the financial burden from astronomical gas and food prices. Workers also failed to receive a pay raise this year and face the constant threat of their benefit allowance being taken away or reduced.
Present OPEA staffer and former OKDHS employee Brandon Watkins knows first-hand the constant pressures workers are under, and the concerns they have in trying to make ends meet with an unlivable wage. He stressed how important it is to be politically active in order to create change significant enough to make a difference in their lives. “I honestly know what they’re up against. And it won’t get any better until we can get everyone politically educated, motivated, united and active with the goings-on of the legislature and how it directly affects their livelihood and families,” Watkins said. “I was disappointed with the turnout at the luncheon, but understand high caseloads. And until the workers understand that a 30 minute lunch (investment) to hear me speak about their issues is a small price to pay in order to get those high caseloads down; then 55H will continue to be at a high caseload. However, I look forward to being there for them next time because I know all of these workers here at 55H are intelligent and capable people, fully equipped to make the informed decision to join OPEA and become actively involved.”

OKDHS Mentor and OPEA Member Saira Boswell attended the luncheon, and said she is for the option of an alternative work week.
“For those whose personal schedules permit, the 4 day work week is an excellent idea,” said Boswell. “It will give workers an extra day they can count on during the week to schedule appointments, run errands, etc. Then they will not have to use their personal leave for these types of things. Understandably, it will not work for every employee; having it as ‘optional’ pleases everyone – those who do support it and those who do not.” Many others at the meeting were in agreement and expressed similar opinions to Boswell’s; while few did not like the idea of having an option for an alternative work week.
Another topic discussed pertinent to the campaign season was the importance of being politically involved in the election process. OPEA Membership Representative Brandon Watkins stressed this importance. “Too many times state employees don’t know which side of the fence their legislators stand pertaining to state employee issues; and often don’t even know the names of their legislators. This lack of knowledge, in conjunction with disinterest is a recipe for political disaster. The outcome is thus unwanted, complaints abound, and the cycle perpetuates itself. It’s time for state workers to take responsibility and act now to change their own future. They need to understand the other side of this dynamic. One cannot complain if one does not take the proper steps of initiative or at least try to take the proper steps in determining next year’s legislative session,” said Watkins.
OKDHS worker and OPEA Chapter 55H President Casey LeTran attended the lunch meeting as well, and was outspoken when it came to this topic. He recognizes OPEA in being instrumental in facilitating sound information to its members. “DHS employees usually are very busy with huge caseloads. OPEA informs us about the upcoming elections. This is a very effective tool that has been used by other organizations including OPEA to reduce the confusion of which legislator’s are backing state employees,” said LeTran. Letran said that the 55H Chapter is a relatively new chapter but is excited about getting DHS more involved. “55J and 55G are really moving forward,” said Letran. “We are looking forward to joining them.”
If anyone is interested in becoming an OPEA Member and fighting for what is right then please contact either Casey LeTran or Brandon Watkins for more information.

Related News