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Big Money Pours Into Oklahoma To Pass Right to Work in September

July 26, 2001

Oklahomans will vote September 25 on a state ban on union security clauses a so-called right-to-work law and the areas foremost union haters are already weighing in with $1.3 million for the campaign, more than three times what the Oklahoma State AFL-CIO has raised to fight the measure.

According to a report in The Daily Oklahoman, the employers posing as Oklahoma Families for Jobs and Justice have collected $1,299,935 to campaign for a right-to-work law and the state AFL-CIO has raised $385,619 to oppose it.

Wal-Mart is the third highest contributor to the anti-union fund, sending $100,000 from its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.  The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce has contributed  $500,000 and the publisher of the Daily Oklahoman, Edward L. Gaylord, has kicked in $250,000.   

Union members across the country should take note of Wal-Marts support of measures like right to work before they spend any of their union wages at Wal-Mart stores, said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill.  Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton was one of the nations best-known union haters, and the Walton family has a consistent record of vicious opposition to its employees efforts to form a union.   

In contrast to the six-figure contributions from employers like Wal-Mart, the Oklahoman reports that the AFL-CIO has received one contribution of $25,000 and no other as large as $10,000.  All of the contributions have come labor groups except for $1,000 from former Gov. David Walters. 

For almost 40 years, Oklahoma has been targeted by national groups that use right to work for fundraising, but the state legislature had refused either to enact it or put it on the ballot until earlier this year.  Oklahomans last voted on the issue in 1964 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to the state to campaign against the measure, and it was defeated in that years Democratic landslide.

June 2001 IBEW Journal

The Campaign for Worker Rights  "Web site dedicated to the fight against SJR1 - The so-called right-to-work bill."