Calling it “horrific and tasteless,” State Sen. David Holt said the AFL-CIO and IAFF labor unions should stop airing a television commercial that uses images of the Oklahoma City Bombing to encourage opposition to legislation reforming how cities negotiate with employees.
"One of the most important lessons from the Murrah Bombing was the need to moderate our political rhetoric," said Holt, a Trustee for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. "The idea that these unions would use images of the Bombing to attack a proposed reform of a union negotiating process is beyond the pale.”
Released just weeks before the 16th anniversary of the Bombing, the commercial shows images of the April 19th, 1995 attack and asks viewers to call their legislator and ask for their opposition to SB 826, authored by Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman. The press release announcing the commercial said that the ad is part of pro-union efforts also being staged by the AFL-CIO and the IAFF in Wisconsin and Ohio.
SB 826 passed the Senate on March 10 and is awaiting consideration in the House. The bill reforms binding arbitration, the process by which an arbitrator, usually an out-of-state attorney, determines the salary and benefits of municipal union employees when a city's elected representatives and their unions cannot agree on a contract. Proponents of reform have maintained that the current process, created in 1994, favors unions over taxpayers.
Holt noted that the Fraternal Order of Police and the AFL-CIO / IAFF negotiated the legislation with members of the Senate. The FOP is not opposed to SB 826. Reform of binding arbitration is endorsed by the Oklahoma Academy, the Oklahoma State Chamber, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, and the Oklahoma Municipal League.
“The AFL-CIO and the IAFF should be ashamed of this horrific and tasteless commercial. I sincerely ask that this commercial be removed from the airwaves immediately, out of respect to the people of Oklahoma,” Holt said. “The victims and heroes of April 19th are not political pawns to be exploited whenever the Legislature seeks to reform a union negotiating process."