Why does CCEA President Ruben Murillo want to silence teachers?

Victor Joecks

On Tuesday, I wrote a commentary informing teachers in the Clark County School District that they have the ability to opt out of the Clark County Education Association by submitting a letter to CCEA between July 1 and July 15. (A generic opt-out letter is available here.)

I also listed some reasons teachers may want to leave CCEA and save themselves $768 a year, including the fact that the union bosses at CCEA are enriching themselves off of members’ dues.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported, CCEA, in 2009, the latest year for which data is available, spent more than a third of its $4.1 million budget on just nine of its employees. John Jasonek, then-executive director of CCEA, took home over $625,000 – $205,745 for running the union and $423,863 for simultaneously running two union-affiliated organizations. All the nine employees each took in over $139,000 from CCEA and related organizations.

Even though it’s common for union bosses to have fat-cat salaries, these salaries are staggeringly high. Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates nonprofits, called the CCEA salaries “out of the ballpark,” the Review-Journal reported.

Exorbitant salaries for union bosses while teachers are struggling financially. That’s how union bosses spend teachers’ money.

Current CCEA President Ruben Murillo isn’t too happy about NPRI informing teachers about their rights or that union bosses are spending teachers’ union dues to live the high life. Here’s what Murillo posted on his Facebook page.

What’s so ironic here is that NPRI wants to give teachers a voice and let teachers know what their options are – to let them know that options even exist. Union bosses, like Murillo, are the ones who are silencing the voices of teachers by allowing them to leave CCEA only during a two-week window in the middle of summer vacation.

For instance, if a teacher wanted to leave CCEA right now, he couldn’t. It’s not allowed under the CCSD and CCEA contract. Currently, that teacher has no choice, because of the union rules.

Imagine you joined a CD club, and the club didn’t live up to your expectations. You tried to cancel, but were told that you could only cancel during a two-week period at the most inconvenient time of the year. You’d be outraged – and rightfully so. You have a right to join an association and to leave that association. Forcing someone to belong to and fund an association he doesn’t want to be in is morally wrong.

That’s exactly the situation facing thousands of teachers in Clark County. They want to leave. They joined the union, but they aren’t happy with something. These teachers want to leave. Many know they can spend their $768 a year better than a union boss using that money to push his salary to over $625,000 a year. Teachers want to leave.

But Murillo doesn’t want teachers to have that choice. Murillo doesn’t want teachers to have that voice. If teachers had that choice, Murillo might not make over $139,000 a year like he did in 2009.

The good news is that, even with union bosses’ attempts to silence teachers, teachers are about to have a chance to make that choice. CCSD teachers can opt out of CCEA by sending an opt-out letter to CCEA from July 1 to July 15. A generic opt-out letter is here. More information is here.

The hard thing will be informing teachers that this choice is available. The union has made opting out as inconvenient as possible.

If you know a teacher in CCSD, I urge you to forward him or her this information and this generic opt-out letter, and let that teacher know about the chance to save $768 next year. Let teachers make the choice. Give teachers back their voice.