Save your money, dump the union

The Nevada Policy Research Group is always a fun read:

Attention Nevada teachers! Would you like to save between $600 and $770 dollars this year?

All you have to do is opt out of the Nevada Education Association, the state teachers union. You now have from July 1 to July 15 to do just that. In Washoe County, all you have to do is write a letter announcing your decision to the local affiliate office. I can even give you the address: Washoe Education Association, 1890 Donald St., Reno, NV 89502

Just tell them that, per Sec. 6.4 of the contract between the Washoe County School District and the WEA, you are withdrawing from the union and all payroll deductions for dues are to stop. You can also remind them that, per Nevada law, there will be no recriminations because of your decision. It is that easy in Storey County also. In Douglas County, you have to send a copy of the letter to the local school board as well. Carson City does not have an official opt-out time, so it means you have to demand that they provide one. There are convenient sample letters on the Nevada Policy Research Institute website, The libertarian-leaning think tank has been supplying this information to Nevada teachers for several years now. Union membership has been declining to the point where statewide only 60 percent of teachers belong to the union. Union membership is bleeding over a million dollars in lost dues over the last two years.

According to paperwork filed with the IRS in 2011, the Nevada State Education Association defines its mission as being to “promote the cause of public education, the rofessions [sic] of teaching and education support personnel and the welfare of youth of Nevada.” I guess teaching proper spell checking is not one of the core objectives of the “rofession.” It is also apparent that the welfare of the children in their charge is only the third highest concern. The “welfare of education support personnel” is evident as the filings show that the top personnel of the union make outrageous salaries. The seven highest officials make an average of $174,354. Three of these “officials” only carried a job title of “employee.” In Clark County, one official pulled in over a million dollars in two years from union-related activities.

The union has spent over $1 million on the badly designed margin tax ballot campaign. This is not a winner, as similar proposals have gone down in flames before. If it somehow passes, it will cripple the state’s economy. Whether your politics are right or left, do you believe that your dues should be spent on lobbying politicians, or on the real welfare of teachers and students? Did you become a teacher to teach, or play politics? The proposals of the union are often about expanding their own coffers through dues collection, such as classroom-size reduction. Classroom-size reduction has not worked to better educational outcomes but will increase teacher jobs and the union hopes dues paying members.

The union also contributes heavily to left wing organizations such as Progress Now Nevada and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. There is no record of significant contributions to conservative organizations. Do you want your dues going to support organizations that you do not believe in?

What could you do with an extra $700 a year? Buy school supplies for your own children? Pay a month’s mortgage? Finally take that wished-for vacation? If you believe that you could do a better job than the union of spending your own money, now is the time to opt out.