New Clark County teachers don’t have to join CCEA

Victor Joecks

Due to natural workplace turnover, additional students and increased education funding, the Clark County School District will hire 2,000 new teachers before the start of the next school year. These teachers will attend an orientation on August 13 and 14, where they will learn more about CCSD and their new positions.

At the orientation will be numerous vendors seeking to sell new teachers products for their classrooms or sign them up for different memberships.

Prominent among those vendors will be the Clark County Education Association, which will hunt for new teachers in order to sign them up for union membership and extract over $770 a year from their paychecks.

Over the past two years, numerous teachers have told NPRI that, during the rush of orientation or because of the pressure applied by union bosses, they didn’t realize that CCEA membership was optional and/or would cost them over $770 a year.

That’s why NPRI is letting new teachers know before orientation that they have options when it comes to union membership — including the option to not join the union.

Directly from teachers, here are a few reasons why a growing number of teachers have left or never joined CCEA.

Reason 1: Union officials are paying themselves lavish salaries with teachers’ dues money.

In 2011, the latest year that records are available, the seven highest paid officials with the Nevada State Education Association had an average compensation of $174,354. This included three workers with the job title of “employee.” Those three “employees” took home an average of $171,606 in 2011. NSEA is the parent organization of CCEA and takes in dues money from every CCEA member.

In CCEA, union-employee compensation is even more outlandish. Over a two-year period, one CCEA union boss pocketed over $1.1 million from the union and union-related organizations.

While teachers struggle, union officials will use dues money from new teachers to pay themselves handsomely.

Reason 2: Joining the union is the equivalent of a $770+ a year pay cut

How would you feel if your principal walked into your classroom on the first day of school and told you he was cutting your pay by $770?  Upset? Furious? Confused?

Unfortunately for teachers, a $770+ paycheck is exactly what will happen if you join CCEA.

Can you afford a $770+ a year pay cut or would you prefer to use that money to help pay your mortgage? Take a vacation with your family? Get monthly massages to melt away the stress of teaching? Have more security about your finances? Provide new shoes and clothing for your children?

Teachers who don’t join the union receive the same pay and benefits as union employees, but they don’t have to fork over $770+ to union bosses who will funnel it into their own pockets.

Reason 3: Alternative professional educator associations offer better benefits for less.

The union tells new teachers that if they join, they get a $1 million liability protection policy. Naturally, teachers like knowing they’re financially protected from lawsuits from disgruntled parents.

What new teachers often miss, however, is that even better insurance and benefits than CCEA offers are available from national, non-partisan professional-educator associations. The Association of American Educators is one such organization. For only $15 a month, AAE provides each member a $2 million liability insurance policy, legal protection and supplementary insurance options.

Reason 4: The union plays politics with teachers' money

Few teachers would imagine that they’d be financially contributing to a political campaign while attending new teacher orientation, but if they join CCEA, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing.

That’s because campaign finance reports show that the Nevada State Education Association, CCEA’s parent organization that CCEA members financially support, has plowed over $1.1 million in members’ money into its badly designed margin-tax ballot campaign. The union bosses also often brag about their ability to play politics in Carson City.

Yet, most teachers — whether of the right or the left — aren't involved in education because they enjoy politics. Many teachers just want to teach, and leave political pursuits to their personal lives.

Whether a teacher joins CCEA or not is decision best left to individual teachers, but if you know a new teacher do them a favor and let them know CCEA membership and giving $770+ a year to the union is completely optional.

Too many teachers join CCEA without knowing they had a choice.

Victor Joecks is executive vice president at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more, visit