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Senate Panel Votes to Axe City Union Rights (Mar 28, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Municipal workers in large Oklahoma cities could lose their collective bargaining rights under a Republican-sponsored bill approved by a Senate committee.

The bill passed the Senate General Government Committee on Monday on a 5-3 party-line vote, with all three Democrats on the panel opposing the measure.

Non-uniformed city workers like sanitation employees, road crews and water treatment workers in cities with more than 35,000 people were given the right to collectively bargain under a bill passed by the Legislature in 2004.

The bill approved Monday would give cities the option of whether to collectively bargain with its employees.

Midwest City municipal employee Matt Thomas says he's disappointed with the committee's vote. He says employees in Midwest City successfully negotiated their first contract that included better safety equipment for workers.

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