Government Workers Can Walk Away from Unions

Kevin Dietrich

Public-sector unions not only don’t serve the public, they also often fail to serve their own members.

If you belong to a government union – whether you’re political or not – a portion of your paycheck is being taken and spent on a political agenda you probably oppose.

Public-sector unions such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Nevada State Education Association sent an overwhelming amount of their political contributions to leftist, institutionalist candidates in the 2020 election.

Nevada labor unions, both public- and private-sector, contributed more than $1 million to legislative campaigns in 2020, of which roughly 94 percent went to leftist Democrats, the Nevada Independent reported in 2021.

However, public-sector union members don’t have to watch their hard-earned dollars be used to push the political agenda of union presidents. This week is National Employee Freedom Week, a nationwide effort which seeks to share alternatives to union membership and provide resources needed to help individuals make the choice that works best for them.

While no breakdown of political affiliation among Nevada union members is available, it’s reasonable to believe that the political makeup of groups such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Nevada State Education Association is at least somewhat similar to that of the state as a whole.

At the beginning of 2020, there were 698,044 registered Democrats and 587,198 registered Republicans in the state, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. There were also 423,911 voters who registered as nonpartisan and 82,046 registered as Independent Americans.

But that diversity isn’t reflected in giving by government unions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for example, contributed a total of $114,500 to 31 state lawmakers in 2020, according to data compiled by the Nevada Independent. Each and every recipient was a Democrat.

The Nevada State Education Association doled out $73,000 among 29 state legislators in 2020, the Independent reported. Again, all were Democrats.

The employee freedom effort began a decade ago, when Nevada Policy started letting Las Vegas-area educators know they didn’t have to be belong to a union to work in a school. Today, the effort is led by Nevada Policy and the Association of American Educators.

Since its inception, more than 100 national and state-level groups have worked to educate government union members that they don’t have to be part of an organization that doesn’t represent their interests.

While unions will likely never tell you otherwise, you do have a choice whether part of your paycheck goes to fund individuals and causes with which you disagree.

Kevin Dietrich

Kevin Dietrich

Director of Mainstream Media

Kevin Dietrich joined Nevada Policy in 2022 and currently serves as the Director of Mainstream Media.

He has more than 20 years of experience in communications, including serving as the director of communications and marketing for the South Carolina Bankers Association, working as a speechwriter for South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and assisting with internal communications for CVS Caremark.

Kevin graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Journalism and a minor in History. A fifth-generation Californian, he spent a decade as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, New York, New Hampshire and South Carolina.