State workers prepare for possible walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY – Along with teachers, some state workers now plan to walk out on April 2 if lawmakers fail to give them a raise.

“We sent an email out yesterday to all of our OPEA members asking that they go ahead and submit an annual relieve request for April 2,” said Tom Dunning with the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

Dunning said his office has been flooded with calls from employees demanding more.

“State employee pay raises, educator pay raises and restoration of funding to all core services, education and state agency services,” he said.

Dunning said he’s talked to multiple state agencies and they are showing support.

But, how exactly will state employees take off of work?

“We've got to account for our time some way,” Dunning said. “State employees face discipline if they leave the job without authorized leave.”

He said employees of the state could use a certain type of leave.

“Annual leave is the state employee's leave. It belongs to them," Dunning said. "State agencies have no business saying what they can or cannot use that leave for.”

News 4 reached out to several state agencies to see what plans were in place if employees decided to walk out and go to the capitol.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said it's working on a plan that will allow employees to demonstrate without compromising key projects. However, some employees may have to stay on the job.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Oklahoma State Department of Health have plans similar to ODOT’s, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said it will allow employees to demonstrate but daily functions of the agency won’t see much of an impact.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department is also working on a plan, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections had no comment.