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Oklahoma governor questions the legality of payroll deductions for teachers' union dues

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Kim Jarrett

(The Center Square) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt ordered the State Department of Education to check payroll deductions for union dues to ensure they complied with state and federal law. 

In his executive order issued Friday, the governor said he wanted to make sure educators knew their rights when it came to unions. 

“It is time we fight back against the liberal unions that have been keeping a stranglehold on their cut of teacher pay, and stand up for Oklahoma educators’ First Amendment rights,” Stitt said in a news release. “Teachers should know they have the freedom to opt-in not opt-out of unions.”

Education Secretary Ryan Walters praised the executive order.

“This is another step in the right direction to focus our classrooms on parents, teachers and kids,” Walters said. “We are cutting the liberal union chains off of our teachers.”

The Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said the organization follows all state laws. 

“The Oklahoma Education Association is a respected organization that works tirelessly to protect and advocate for our public schools,” Oklahoma Education Association President Katherine Bishop said in a statement. “We have always been an opt-in organization since our first meeting in 1889. We follow all state and federal laws and always have. The Executive Order filed on August 19, 2022, is a baseless attack on the voices of educators ahead of an important election. This only distracts from real issues like the educator shortage crisis and Oklahoma ranking 49th in education funding. The 90 percent of Oklahoma children who attend public schools and the professionals who serve them deserve better.”