The right of workers in private employment to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and related federal laws. The NLRA is preemptive, meaning it supersedes state law in the areas it covers. However, in areas not covered by the NLRA, such as the rights of public employees and the rights of private employees who are not engaged in interstate commerce, the states are free to make their own provisions.
Although Oklahoma has never had a specific statute protecting workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively, the state courts have long recognized these rights. Thus, under state law, protections comparable to those provided under federal law are available to employees who might not otherwise be covered. The federal protections are the governing law of the state for private employees engaged in interstate commerce.