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In Preemptive Strike, Oklahoma Bans Efforts to Increase Minimum Wage

Law signed by Gov. Mary Fallin thwarts local workers' rights initiatives

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (right) just signed a law forbidding local municipalities from raising the minimum wage. (Photo: Fortune Live Media/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (right) just signed a law forbidding local municipalities from raising the minimum wage. (Photo: Fortune Live Media/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

In a preemptive strike against local efforts to strengthen workers' rights, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) on Tuesday signed into law a measure that forbids all cities and counties in the state from raising the minimum wage any higher than the current federal requirement of $7.25 an hour.

Further, the law bans all localities from requiring employers to provide sick days or vacation days, either paid or unpaid.

Critics of the law say it was a direct attack on grassroots efforts in Oklahoma City to put a $10.10 minimum wage on the November ballot.

Municipalities are leading the charge to raise the minimum wage, as federal calls to raise the wage to $10.10 have stalled. Advocates of a livable wage in Los Angeles are pushing for an increase to $15.37 an hour for hotel workers and in cities across the country the low-wage labor movement has been calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 dollars an hour.

Tim O’Connor, president of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, which is leading the Oklahoma City ballot drive, said that despite the new law the group will continue to collect signatures “until somebody tells us we can’t."

“If anything this has given us more momentum,” O'Connor told News OK.

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