Public Employees Association Considers Its Options
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is weighing all its options as it continues its fight against Department of Corrections furloughs.
“We are getting calls from our members across the state saying they cannot continue to work in these conditions,” OPEA Deputy Director Scott Barger commented. “Our members are working at 69-percent staffing and are being furloughed one day per month to overcome budget shortfalls. Employees are stretched thin and their mission is in jeopardy.”
“How is this protecting the citizens of Oklahoma and, more importantly, the employees of the Department of Corrections,” Barger asked.
Barger pointed out that one option OPEA is considering is informational pickets at the state Capitol and at Department of Corrections headquarters.
“An informational picket on a furlough day might draw enough attention to this issue during an election year to force legislative leaders to come to an agreement on a supplemental appropriation for Corrections,” Barger said. “Continuing these furloughs is madness.”
“We understand that the state budget is fragile, but forcing DOC employees to work under these conditions is unsafe and is at best draconian,” Barger said. “The mission of the Department of Corrections is to protect the public, the employees and the offenders, and, under current conditions, none of them are being protected.”