Survey finds more than 25% of union households unaware of right to opt-out of union membership

For Immediate Release

Contact Chantal Lovell

August 17, 2015

702- 222-0642, 951-295-4855 (cell)

LAS VEGAS — Today, the Nevada Policy Research Institute released the results of a new survey showing that more than a quarter of union households in Nevada don’t realize they can opt out of union membership and stop paying a portion of their union dues without fear of penalty. 

The survey is part of National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW), an annual national campaign spearheaded by NPRI that informs union members about their workplace rights, specifically their right to leave their union. NEFW runs Sunday, August 16th through Saturday, August 22nd and consists of a record 99 organizations in 42 states.  

To view a list of the grassroots coalition that makes up NEFW, click here. To view the NEFW website, click here.

The Google Consumer Survey poll surveyed 300 union members and union households in Nevada and found that 27.7 percent of respondents answered “No” to the question, “Are you aware that you can opt-out of union membership and of paying all union dues without losing your job or any other penalty?” Nationally, the figure is 39.2 percent.

“These survey results show that there are over 45,000 union members in Nevada who don’t know they can opt out of union membership, even though Nevada is a right-to-work state,” said Victor Joecks, executive vice president of NPRI and the executive director of NEFW. “These results show why NPRI has needed to work for the last four years to help over 2,000 teachers and school district employees opt out of union membership.

“Too many union employees simply don’t understand that union membership is optional.”

Additionally, the NEFW coalition released the following survey results:

  • Nationwide, more than 1 in 4 union members answered "Yes" in response to the question, "If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty, would you do it?"
  • Nationwide more than 3 in 4 union members responded "Yes" when asked, "Should employees have the right to decide, without force or penalty, whether to join or leave a labor union?" 

In addition to educating union members about their rights, NEFW also helps them exercise these rights. The NEFW website features an interactive map that includes sample opt-out letters and information about union alternatives.

“Across the country there are millions of union members who want to leave their unions, but don’t know that opting out of union membership is possible,” said Joecks. “Through the work of National Employee Freedom Week, nearly 100 organizations throughout the country are working to share that empowering message within their circles of influence.”

The surveys were conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, between June 24th and July 28th, 2015. They each surveyed roughly 300 people and have a margin of error of approximately 6 percent.


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