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AM NewsBrief: Dec. 19, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

Starbucks workers strike in Oklahoma City

Starbucks workers went on strike for the first time ever in Oklahoma Sunday. At the unionized store on 23rd and Robinson in Oklahoma City, baristas refused to work and instead spent the morning picketing. Starbucks United union member Jacob Bone said the protestors want a contract guaranteeing fair treatment.

"Starbucks is firing organizers and closing union stores. They are also changing benefits and offering those to non-union stores and not offering them to the union stores including credit and debit card tipping, which could be up to $5 an hour. So, that's a huge hit to our bottom line," said Bone.

Employee Neha Cremin said the tipping is especially important. While she lives with her partner and is able to split rent, not all of her co-workers are that lucky.

"I've had coworkers who've been homeless for periods of time because they just couldn't afford rent," Cremin said.

The strike comes in the wake of a rash of unionizations across stores nationally though Starbucks is still doing well. According to recent data, the company is worth over $100 billion.

Oklahoma legislator files bills for teacher, support staff pay raises

Muskogee Republican Senator Dewayne Pemberton is looking to give Oklahoma public school teachers and support staff a raise.

Senate Bills 25 and 28 offer raises starting in the 2023-24 school year. Teachers would get $6,000 over 9 years. Support staff would get more modest pay increases.

Teachers have been given raises over the last four years totaling more than $7,000. But even then, Oklahoma’s again fallen behind neighboring states.

"We’ve slipped to number four in the region, so that means Texas and Colorado and New Mexico and a lot of these states are paying more and are drawing our teachers out of the state." Pemberton said. "We already have a teacher shortage, now the pipeline is almost empty. We’re trying everything we can to get young people back involved and keep older teachers in the system."

Pemberton says the bills are one of a few things the legislature has this session to address the state’s teacher crisis.

Speedy trial ruling from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last week an arrest on a warrant from Cleveland County violated a woman’s constitutional rights.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled the November 2021 arrest of Ashley Megan Raby on a warrant from Cleveland County from 2012 violated her constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Raby was a resident of Texas at the time in Oklahoma for work when she was charged with attempting to obtain a Schedule II controlled substance, fraud, and making a false report of a crime. She went back to Texas, seemingly unaware of the charges against her until she was pulled over for a traffic violation last year, when she was arrested on the outstanding warrant.

Wreaths Across America

Last week, volunteers were getting ready for Wreaths Across America Day at Fort Sill National Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America pays tribute to military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Comanche County Coordinator for Wreaths Across America Mary Fountain says for her it’s about honoring her late father.

“My dad was a veteran and when my mother told me about the program, I thought it was a good deal and I wanted to honor my dad and all the other veterans.”

2600 wreaths were laid on veterans’ graves across Comanche County Saturday.

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