For Immediate Release – July 7, 2016
Contact Michael Schaus, 702-222-0642
LAS VEGAS — With just over a week left for Nevada teachers to leave their union, the Nevada Policy Research Institute is launching a social media blitz to let educators know about their options.
“The unions seem to make opting out as difficult as possible,” said Michael Schaus, NPRI’s communications director.
For a teacher to leave the union, they have to know about a short two-week period in the middle of summer. If they miss the July 1st through July 15th window, they’ll be stuck in their union for another year.
Many teachers may prefer to stay in the union — and Schaus says they should have the right to do so. But for teachers who would rather represent themselves, or don’t agree with the union’s political leanings, opting-out provides substantial benefits, and can actually save teachers money.
“It’s really about individual choice, and worker freedom,” Schaus said. “No one should be forced or tricked into paying dues to a union they don’t feel adequately represents them.”
It’s a message that seems to be resonating.
Since NPRI began the annual campaign to let teachers know about their right to leave the union, more than 3,500 teachers have decided to opt-out — saving up to $800 per teacher in annual union dues.
“Many of these teachers realized they could get much better benefits — such as insurance, instructional resources and other representation — through alternative trade organizations, such as the American Association of Educators,” explained Schaus.
Many private sector professions, such as doctors and lawyers, already depend on trade organizations rather than unions for protection, guidance and information.
“In the end, unions aren’t the only resource for teachers — and they certainly aren’t always the best,” said Schaus.
The largest challenge for most teachers who would like to leave their union, however, is that many teachers simply don’t know opting out is even an option.
In addition to NPRI’s email and social media campaign, letting teachers know that the opt-out period runs from July 1st to July 15th, the Institute also has pre-written opt-out letters for interested teachers to download on npri.org.
“The bottom line is that teachers deserve to be treated with respect, and they deserve the right to choose for themselves whether or not they want to belong to a union,” said Schaus.
“And these two weeks, as short as that period is, lets teachers take advantage of that right — but only if they know about it,” Schaus added. “That’s where we come in.”