OKPolicyCast 41: Fair Wages and Overtime for State Workers (with Sterling Zearley)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry and produced by Gene Perry and Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

 Today our guest is Sterling Zearley, who leads the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. OPEA represents thousands of state workers, including everyone from child welfare caseworkers to transportation engineers, corrections officers, mental health counselors, and more. In recent years in Oklahoma, teachers have gotten the most attention to their stagnant or falling pay and rising class sizes. Many state workers have faced very similar issues, as they try to do jobs that may be less visible than teachers but are still very important.

Now as Oklahoma approaches next year’s legislative session with a new governor and many brand new legislators, I spoke with Sterling about what are the biggest issues for state workers right now and what OPEA hopes to accomplish in next year’s session. It’s a conversation about many problems that deserve more attention in Oklahoma.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

2 thoughts on “OKPolicyCast 41: Fair Wages and Overtime for State Workers (with Sterling Zearley)

  1. State worker retirees and state teacher retirees have not had a cost of living raise since 2008. It is time to pass such a raise.

  2. Oklahoma construction art 23A states that Oklahoma has a 40 hour work week. After 2004 D O C mandates CO’s work 60 hours presently and in the past worked 5 16 hour shifts per week. This is a Blantent violation of our constitution.
    Law also states that administration can only be 6% of security staff. At 1400 officers this should be looked into

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