Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
If you’re in Las Vegas, a glimmer of freedom may have caught your eye as you drove to work this morning.
Our latest billboard campaign — aimed at informing teachers and support staff or their rights — began yesterday and marked the start of our annual teacher union opt-out campaign. For the fourth year in a row, NPRI is reaching out to educators across the State of Nevada to make sure they know union membership is a choice and that, from July 1 to July 15, they may leave their union if they desire by submitting written notice to their union and, in some areas, their school district.
The billboards highlight one of the major benefits of dropping union membership — the ability to save hundreds of dollars a year in dues — but there are many other reasons teachers and support staff employees have been abandoning their local affiliates of the Nevada State Education Association.
While the billboards are certainly the most visible part of our efforts in Southern Nevada, they’re far from the only piece of the plan. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be communicating directly with teachers across the state through email and media coverage to inform them of this short, ill-timed opt-out window and some of the reasons educators have chosen to leave.
For many, the decision to leave the union was simple: They didn’t like the idea of financially supporting an organization that uses their money to work against them. For example, the NSEA and its local affiliates spent millions of dollars last year funding the failed margin tax campaign, which 79 percent of voters — presumably many of them teachers and support staff — voted against.
The union also funds groups that work to increase the availability of abortions and expand same-sex marriage legalization. While NPRI does not take a position on either issue, it’s safe to say teachers have strong feelings about these controversial issues and many would not support these groups financially if given the choice.
Others don’t like the idea of union bosses getting rich on their backs, or find the union unresponsive and, ultimately, unnecessary. And then there are the many educators who realize that the union’s promise of liability insurance isn’t such a bargain when private associations, like the Association of American Educators, offer twice the amount of insurance for a mere fraction of the price.
The list goes on and on, but what all the reasons boil down to is the understanding and belief that individuals can make better decisions about their lives and finances than a union or school district can. Union membership is voluntary, and we believe teachers and support staff deserve to have all the information needed to make this important decision for themselves and their families.
So if you know a teacher or support staff member, do that a person a favor and let him or her know there’s a choice when it comes to union membership. Encourage anyone who may be interested to visit NevadaTeacherFreedom.com to find out how to save money and gain freedom this summer.
Until next time,
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