Teachers are able to drop CCEA membership from July 1 to 15

Victor Joecks

Nevada is a right-to-work state, but once teachers in the Clark County School District join the Clark County Education Association, their ability to leave the union is tightly restricted.

That's because of Section 8-4 of the contract between CCSD and CCEA, which states:

Any teacher desiring to have the School District discontinue deductions previously authorized must notify the Association in writing between July 1 and July 15 of each year for the next school year's dues and the Association will notify the District in writing to discontinue the employee's deduction.

From July 1 to 15, most teachers are on vacation and school-related activities are the furthest things from their minds.

This year especially, however, there are many reasons teachers may want to send a note to the CCEA address on McLeod Drive and opt out:

Reason 1: Union bosses are enriching themselves on teachers' union dues

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported,  CCEA, in 2009, the latest year for which data is available, spent more than a third of its $4.1 million budget on just nine of its employees. John Jasonek, then-executive director of CCEA, took home over $625,000 — $205,745 for running the union and $423,863 for simultaneously running two union-affiliated organizations. All the nine employees each took in over $139,000 from CCEA and related organizations.

Even though it's common for union bosses to have fat-cat salaries, these salaries are staggeringly high. Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates nonprofits, called the CCEA salaries "out of the ballpark," the Review-Journal reported.

Exorbitant salaries for union bosses while teachers are struggling financially. That's how union bosses spend teachers' money.

Reason 2: CCEA is moving from a service model to an organizing model

Here's how CCEA describes itself on a job posting for a "Lead Organizer".

The CCEA is an advocacy organization that has embarked on the following changes:

  • Transitioning from a service model to an organizing model;

What does that mean to individual teachers? An AFL-CIO publication defined the service model as "trying to help people by solving problems for them." In contrast, a Labor Research Review article states, "The organizing model emphasizes the need for member mobilization, collective action, and militancy."

In other words, while a service model involves union officials ostensibly serving members, the organizing model seeks to turn teachers into fist-waving union militants.

If you're a teacher who's just interested in teaching and not yelling and cursing at the Board of Trustees, union bosses have made a conscious decision to move the organization away from serving you.

Reason 3: It would save you $768 a year

What does $768 mean to the union? It would pay for .12 percent of the union president's combined 2009 salaries.

What would $768 mean to you? A mortgage payment? A vacation with your family? Monthly massages to melt away the stress of teaching? Less worry about finances? New shoes and clothing for your children?

You can spend your own money better than a union boss who takes your money to fund his $625,000-plus per year in salary.

Reason 4: In the last few years, more than 1,500 teachers have left CCEA

Increasingly, teachers are recognizing that the union does not serve their interests. Leaving the CCEA is a growing trend. In 2007, 13,012 teachers were CCEA members. In early 2012, of CCSD's 17,486 teachers, only 11,406 were CCEA members.

Reason 5: Alternative professional educator associations offer better benefits for less

CCEA tells teachers that a real benefit of joining is a $1 million liability protection policy for teachers. Naturally, teachers like knowing they are protected financially from lawsuits from disgruntled students.

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 members a $2 million liability insurance policy, legal protection and supplementary insurance options.

So, if you're a teacher who dislikes CCEA union bosses lining their pockets with your dues while moving away from serving you, consider opting out.

July 1 to July 15 is the next opportunity for teachers to leave CCEA. You need only send the union written notice at:

Clark County Education Association
4230 McLeod Drive
Las Vegas, Nevada 89121-5216

A generic opt-out letter, including CCEA's address, is available here.

Do you know a teacher who belongs to CCEA?  

Send him this column or a link to the opt-out letter, available at http://www.npri.org/docLib/20120605_Generic_CCEA_opt-out_letter.doc. Let him know that he can affiliate with a genuinely non-partisan and professional organization, and at the same time he can save $768 a year.

Victor Joecks is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more visit http://npri.org.