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Right-to-Work

Amidst the eternal struggle between what the state’s predominant Christian populace would term godliness and sin, a historic electoral shift mushroomed in the American South. Nowhere did things change more dramatically than in Oklahoma. Scores of elected officials in the Sooner State, as well as hundreds of thousands of voters, like in other Southern and Border states, switched their multi-generational party allegiance from Democrat to Republican.


By the year 2000, many Oklahomans of Southern heritage had long since forgotten their ancient enmity against the Republican Party as the liberal pillager of the Civil War and Reconstruction South. They shockingly transformed the state into a bastion for that now-conservative party.


A blockbuster demonstration of the changing political landscape was the state’s landmark 2001 Right-to-Work (RTW) (OKLAHOMANS 2, Chapters 9, 17) constitutional amendment vote. The existing, non-RTW, “Union Shop” law required all employees to belong to labor unions who collectively bargained for their salaries and benefits in companies where they were present. Employees had to contribute money to those unions, and thus to the political candidates and issues of various sorts that union leadership supported. This occurred whether the employee agreed with the causes the union supported or not.


Unions grew to power in the early 20th century in response to unjust corporate labor and cartel practices, and unfairly treated employees. Increasing corruption and even violence, however, often accompanied labor union growth, especially among the giant unions centered in the northeastern U.S. This gradually retarded their appeal, especially in the generally more conservative, less-urbanized, free market-supportive Southern and Western sections, which had never championed them.