Lion of the Day, Lou Griffin, introduced Lloyd Fields as a Labor Commissioner who wishes to be “fair to all Oklahomans, increase economic development,” and continue to be “known for his homemade spaghetti sauce.”
Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields spoke to a packed den on Tuesday at the weekly meeting of the Cushing Lions Club. Since being elected in 2006, Fields said near the end of each summer, he travels around speaking to various clubs and groups in order to let folks know “what we do.”
The Oklahoma Department of Labor is made up of 9 divisions – most of them federally funded – including one division that identifies public buildings with asbestos and licenses those who do its removal, another that instructs businesses how to have a safer workplace, and a safety and standards division that inspects elevators, water heaters, boilers and steam engines – such as those at the annual Pawnee Steam Engine Show, and amusement park rides.
Fields said since becoming Commissioner, regulations were made requiring the certification of all amusement ride operators. “We didn’t do that to be detrimental to businesses – we want to ensure public safety,” Fields said. “There was this one woman operator who thought it was ok to drink a margarita while operating the Tilt-a-Whirl,” he continued. “And when authorities asked for her identification, she gave them permission to get it from her purse. When they looked in her purse, they found a bag of weed.”
Besides public safety, Fields is passionate about working to strengthen Oklahoma’s child labor laws. “We have to protect our children,” Fields said. He gave this example of unfair practices. “We heard about this one man who was making his young employees clock out at 9 o’clock, but made them work until 10. They wouldn’t say anything because they feared they would lose their jobs. This same person – if the young people received good tips through out the day, he would decrease their hourly wage.”
Fields has also done some cost cutting in his own department since being in office – to the tune of more than 37 percent.
“Not everyone liked me at first,” Fields said, “but now we get along pretty good. I’m just trying to do my job.”