Communications & Public Affairs
April 30, 2020

Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus

Virgin Renews Call for Livable Wage after Workforce Council Comments

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement in response to comments made about Oklahoma’s workforce during the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development on Tuesday.

“It is appalling that in the middle of this pandemic members of Governor Stitt’s administration are talking about Oklahoma’s workforce like they are societal leeches. The notion that Oklahomans are choosing to stay home and collect unemployment benefits instead of returning to work is insulting to the millions of Oklahomans just trying to figure out how to survive both physically and financially.

“Additionally, if a situation arose where large groups of employers, as members of this council suggested, found themselves unable to retain staff, surely this administration would recognize that as a failure of policy and not a defect in the character of Oklahomans.

“For consecutive sessions, Democrats in the legislature have pushed for legislation that guarantees a livable wage. We have presented plans that would make the raise gradual, and we have presented plans for immediate action. All of these plans failed to get out of Republican-controlled committees. As this pandemic has shown, it is time for a new approach. Oklahomans deserve to join their neighbors in Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, and New Mexico. Oklahomans deserve a livable wage.”