LAS VEGAS — Membership in Nevada’s two largest teachers unions experienced a dramatic drop over the summer, the Nevada Policy Research Institute announced today.
Including new teachers not joining the union, Clark County Education Association membership fell by 1,338 and Washoe Education Association membership fell by 163. The information was provided by the Clark and Washoe County School Districts, which use automatic payroll deduction to collect dues on behalf of the union.
As of Sept. 10, 2015, only 9,526 of the CCSD’s 18,275 teachers had union dues — which total nearly $800 per year — deducted. That means CCEA membership has fallen to 52 percent of licensed personnel. In April 2015, the union represented 10,731 of the CCSD’s 18,142 teachers or 59 percent of teachers. The membership drop means that teachers will keep over $1 million more of their own money, instead of sending it to CCEA officials.
As of Sept. 16, 2015, just 2,289 of WCSD’s 4,068 teachers had union dues — which cost around $720 a year — deducted. WEA membership has dropped to 56 percent. In April 2015, the union represented 2,402 of WCSD’s 4,018 licensed personnel or 60 percent of teachers. The membership decline means that teachers will keep over $117,000 more of their own money, instead of sending it to WEA officials.
The 1,500-plus teacher exodus comes after NPRI held its fourth annual summer union opt-out campaign to let school district employees know they can drop union membership from July 1 to July 15 and to inform new educators that they need not join at all. The Institute reached school district employees through billboards throughout Las Vegas, in emails sent to their taxpayer-funded addresses and through interviews in the media and its own publications and on social media.
The CCEA’s membership decline has been especially pronounced and is even more dramatic considering that CCSD has 1,100 more teachers in 2015 than in 2012.
In response to the news, NPRI’s Executive Vice President, Victor Joecks, issued the following remarks:
This summer, more than 1,500 Clark and Washoe County teachers exercised their right to drop union members or not join their respective education associations. Teachers, empowered by information from the Nevada Policy Research Institute on when and how to leave, have voted with their feet and will save more than $1.1 million this year alone.
Since NPRI began this campaign in 2012, more than 3,500 school district employees have left or not joined the Nevada State Education Association. The free choice of these individuals has allowed them to keep over $4 million of their own money, instead of sending it to union officials making six-figure salaries and providing lousy customer service.
Joecks mentioned that membership in the Washoe Education Support Association has fallen to just 526 of WCSD’s 2,711 support staff members or just 19 percent. The Education Support Employees Association has also fallen under 50 percent and is currently facing a vote with the Teamsters Union on which union will represent support staff employees in CCSD.
With membership levels hovering just above 50 percent for Nevada’s two largest teachers unions, these results show that now is the time for union recertification.
With CCEA becoming the bargaining agent for CCSD teachers in 1969, only a handful of current CCSD teachers have ever had a chance to vote on if they want CCEA as their bargaining agent. Now teachers are voting with their feet and leaving CCEA in droves.
Lawmakers should use the rumored upcoming special session to pass a union recertification bill that would require unions to get a majority vote of those it represents in bargaining every two years to remain the bargaining agent.
The trend is clear. Nevada’s teachers unions don’t represent a near majority of teachers, and those teachers should not be forced into contracts by an organization they never voted for, have left and want no part of.