OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Governor Kevin Stitt has issued an Executive Order to ensure Oklahoma’s teachers’ and school district employees’ right to decline an invitation and fees to join a union.

“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,” said Governor Stitt. “Teachers should know they have the freedom to opt-in not opt-out of unions.”

The order “urges the State Board of Education to take action to ensure that payroll deductions meet the requirements of state and federal law and that school district employees are fully informed of their First Amendment rights.”

KFOR reviewed the Oklahoma Constitution and found mandatory unions are a misdemeanor under current law.

No one should be required, as a condition of employment, to:

– Resign from voluntary union membership;

– Become or remain a union member;

– Pay dues, fees, or charges of any kind to a labor union;

– Pay a pro rata portion of dues to any third party, in lieu of union payments; or

– Be recommended, approved, referred, or cleared by a union.

Union dues or fees may not be deducted from an employee’s wages without their authorization.”

Oklahoma Constitution (art. 23, § 1A)

Following the executive order, the Oklahoma Democratic Party tweeted, “Stitt wants the public to think that teachers don’t already have the option to opt-out with this performative EO, pretending that everyone is automatically opted in. This is an attack on unions and labor! Just more anti-everything movement!”

KFOR has reached out to Oklahoma Education Association for a comment.

“The Oklahoma Education Association is a respected organization that works tirelessly to protect and advocate for our public schools. 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 Supreme Court decision on JANUS also has no effect on Right to Work states like Oklahoma. 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% of Oklahoma children who attend public schools and the professionals who serve them deserve better.”

Katherine Bishop, Oklahoma Education Association President