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Oklahoma Senate Takes a Stand on Teachers' Rights

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Senate moved to protect teachers’ First Amendment rights on Monday by passing Senate Bill 99, which would ensure that state teachers are informed of their rights and can decide annually whether to join a union or continue paying union dues.

“Thanks to Senator Julie Daniel’s leadership on this issue, the Oklahoma Senate has embraced teachers’ right to decide for themselves how their hard-earned paychecks are spent,” said Workers for Opportunity Senior Policy Advisor Vincent Vernuccio.

Teachers often join the union during their first year on the job but lack regular opportunities thereafter to revisit their decision. SB 99 will make union membership an annual opt-in process, rather than opt-out process.

“It is just good bookkeeping,” said Workers for Opportunity Senior Policy Advisor Vincent Vernuccio, “the decision to pay a union should not be taken for granted. Teachers need to be informed of their rights and given a yearly opportunity to exercise them. SB 99 puts power in the hands of teachers.”

SB 99 builds upon a 2022 executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt that urged the State Board of Education to inform school employees of their First Amendment right to join, refrain or withdraw from a union. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters has also expressed support for the measure.

“All eyes are now on the Oklahoma House of Representatives to continue the momentum behind this important legislation,” said Workers for Opportunity Senior Policy Advisor Vincent Vernuccio.

As an advocate for employee freedom in Oklahoma and across the country, Workers for Opportunity commends Oklahoma senators for their leadership.

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