LAS VEGAS — More than 465 teachers opted out of the Clark County Education Association teacher union between July 1 and 15, 2013, according to the Clark County School District.
That two-week period is the only part of the year, according to the union’s contract with CCSD, during which current union members can drop their CCEA membership. For the last two years, the short window has been the subject of a Nevada Policy Research Institute informational campaign directed at teachers.
Currently, only 10,648 of CCSD’s 17,908 teachers are members of CCEA. The 469 teachers who left the union this July joined more than 800 teachers who left the previous summer. Union teachers now constitute only 60 percent of the district’s teacher workforce.
Responding to this news, NPRI Communications Director Victor Joecks released the following comments:
This summer, hundreds of teachers voted with their feet and left the Clark County Education Association. Because teachers can only opt out of CCEA between July 1 and 15, NPRI has been informing teachers of this narrow window and how they can use it. Many teachers are otherwise unaware of this limited and inconvenient drop period.
By leaving the union, 469 teachers decided they would keep $773 more of their own money each year, instead of sending their money to an organization that recently paid a union boss over $625,000 annually. Other teachers are turned off by the union’s terrible customer service or prefer getting their liability insurance from groups — such as the Association of American Educators — that charge only a fraction of what the union does.
In 2007, CCSD records show that CCEA membership exceeded 13,000. Today it is under 10,700. CCEA represents less than 60 percent of teachers, which is down from 65 percent in mid-2012.
The limited and inconvenient drop period written into the union’s contract with CCSD has been a transparent attempt by union bosses to keep their power by restricting teachers’ ability to leave CCEA. That contract language shows that union officials see teachers more as dupes to manipulate than as professionals entitled to respect.
To avoid this problem, Nevada’s Legislature should eliminate the restrictive drop periods union officials insert into collective-bargaining contracts to keep teachers captive.
“While NPRI's information campaign reached thousands of teachers,” said Joecks, “there still were thousands we weren’t able to reach. We will continue our efforts to provide every teacher in Nevada with this information.
“Unlike union bosses, NPRI trusts teachers enough to think they should be allowed make their own decisions about union membership — and act on those decisions when they choose to.”