RENO — One hundred and sixty-eight teachers left the Washoe Education Association, bringing its membership down to just 60.5 percent of teachers in the Washoe County School District, the Nevada Policy Research Institute announced today.
The drop followed NPRI's statewide campaign in summer 2013 to notify educators that they can opt out of their union by submitting written notice between July 1 and July 15. Prior to the summer of 2013, 2,499 of WCSD’s 3,984 teachers, or 62.7 percent, were part of the WEA. After the campaign, which saw union membership decline by 168, just 2,331 of 3,853 teachers, or 60.5 percent, are union members, according to public records provided by the school district.
In response to the news, Victor Joecks, NPRI's executive vice president, released the following comments.
Actions speak louder than words. Last summer, after NPRI informed teachers in the Washoe County School District that they have the ability to opt out of their union over 165 left the Washoe Education Association. Union membership fell over two percent and stands at just 60.5 percent of teachers.
This is the reason that union bosses limit the freedom teachers have to leave their union by only allowing teachers to opt out by submitting written notice between July 1 and July 15. Once teachers find out they have the ability to leave, many do.
Every teacher has their own unique reason for wanting to leave WEA. Some teachers believe they can spend their over $700 in dues better than a union boss. Some prefer low-cost alternatives, like the Association of American Educators, for liability insurance that's even better than the union's policy. Some don't support the teacher union’s efforts to raise taxes through the margin tax initiative.”
As a result of NPRI's informational campaign, WCSD teachers were able to keep $119,407 for themselves and their families that otherwise would have gone into the hands of union bosses.
After NPRI’s campaign informing teachers around the state of their ability to leave the teacher union, union membership fell in school districts throughout the state, including in Clark County School District, Pershing County School District, Nye County School District and Douglas County School District.
Joecks also announced that NPRI will continue to its efforts to let teachers know they can leave their union this summer between July 1 and July 15.
“Every teacher in Washoe County — and the state of Nevada — should be able to make the decision about union membership that's best for him or her,” said Joecks. “To do that, teachers have to know they have options. That's why NPRI is committed to do, and will do, more this year than ever before to let ever teacher in Nevada know when they have the ability to leave the union.
“Unlike union bosses, NPRI trusts teachers to make the decision about union membership that's best for them.”
Joecks added that the legislature should eliminate the ability of union bosses to hold teachers hostage by outlawing drop periods.