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January 29, 2015

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NPRI campaign to continue after teachers union opt-out period ends


Paul Takahashi

Clark County Education Association President Ruben Murillo speaks at the School Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2011. About 200 teachers union members wearing red attended the meeting; about two dozen of them spoke out against potential teacher layoffs.

A monthlong campaign by a local Libertarian think-tank to encourage Clark County schoolteachers to opt out of their union has had “insignificant” results on membership, according to union officials.

Last month, the Nevada Policy Research Institute launched a multifaceted initiative to inform Clark County School District teachers of their right to drop their union membership between July 1 and July 15. Nevada is a right-to-work state, which means teachers cannot be compelled to join the union as a condition for employment.

NPRI representatives distributed pre-written opt-out letters and pre-stamped envelopes at two School Board meetings; gave radio, TV and newspaper interviews; and even sent two emails to 12,000 teachers through the district’s email system.

NPRI argued on its website and in public comments that the window of opportunity for teachers to withdraw from the union was too small and that it came at a time when many teachers were away on summer vacation.

The group also claimed that the Clark County Education Association wanted to make it as inconvenient as possible for teachers to leave the union by requiring a written letter to exit the union.

“That reality is what inspired our efforts,” NPRI President Andy Matthews wrote in an email to supporters Friday. “We believe that teachers are in the best position to decide if CCEA membership is right for them, yet they have been unable to do so because they’ve been unaware of their options.”

The campaign sparked a flurry of media attention and commentary.

NPRI received more than 100 emails from teachers and community members, said Victor Joecks, the group’s communications director. Some were grateful of the group’s efforts while others were negative, he said.

NPRI’s campaign mainly drew the ire of union officials, who declared the campaign as “union-busting” and “anti-teacher.” The union — which represents 18,000 teachers in the district — derives the majority of its funding from its $768 annual dues.

Yet, despite the publicity and political back-and-forth, NPRI’s campaign has failed to affect union membership, said union President Ruben Murillo, who did not disclose exact figures.

“Their campaign has had a minimal impact on us,” Murillo said. “Despite all their efforts, their campaign against CCEA has not resulted in any significant impact on our membership.”

Although the opt-out period ends Sunday, NPRI’s official campaign will not, Joecks said.

NPRI plans to lobby legislators during the 2013 session to get rid of opt-out periods altogether, Joecks said. The campaign will also expand to Washoe County teachers and perhaps other collective bargaining units, he added.

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  1. NPRI...

    Shelly Adelson's Neo-Nutbag, Anti-Education Right-Wing 'Institute' is another way for 'Mister Big' to throw his ample weight around using Casino Cash...

    I wouldn't step foot in any Sands property.

  2. NPRI's main and only goal is to rid Nevada of every single union. No wonder the most craziest Tea/Republican Party politicians in Nevada love them. I'm glad to see people are pushing back at their extreme and radical agenda which eternally tries to portray unions as the boogeyman for anything and everything.

  3. As long as the superintendent's office is working hand-in-hand with NPRI to destroy the teachers' union, as it certainly appears to be doing, why should the right-wing extremists relax the pressure? NPRI's typically thuggish efforts to intimidate teachers will continue at least through the election.
    Note to the School District management: How's that "internal investigation" into the instructor email lists that NPRI mysteriously acquired coming?

  4. I agree tbvegas. The wealthy elite in America, like Sheldon Adelson, have been thuggish bullies towards middle class working Americans for the last 50 years.

    It's nice to see middle class working Americans stand up and push back against these billionaire funded, democracy purchasing, propaganda machines for once!!

  5. Scranton PA recently CUT COMPENSATION to minimum wage, the $7.25 an hour. A 10-year firefighter says that cuts his pay to 1/3. So that means he gets about $45K a year plus benies. COMPARE that to CCSD K-12 teachers who AVERAGE $74K AND local firefighters who seem to top out about $500,000 a year.

  6. PA and others are simply reacting to the fiscal crises brought about by past union contracts.

    No one wants to treat their firefighters, police or teachers less than the best. What they can't do is pay the too high costs brought about by outrageous union contracts consented to by foolish politicians buying votes under the extortion of the union thugs.

  7. Mr. Joecks' motives are "transparent" he is married to Ms. Fulkerson so his agenda reeks of self interest. If he were a politician his conflict of interest crusade would probably merit an ethics review. His continual singling out the teachers union and no other union shows his intent. Help his wife achieve the goal of lowering teacher's wages. He is behaving illogically driven by self interest and immaturity. The day I see an article written by him that discusses administrator, support staff, and police unions and advises them to quit, I will eat my hat!!!!!! I must say his lack of articles addressing administrator, police, or support staff salaries and functions just show his unethical behavior and helps discount everything he writes.