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November 1, 2014

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Think tank’s campaign again puts it on collision course with teachers union

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Leila Navidi

Teachers rally during a protest organized by the Clark County Education Association on Monday, June 11, 2012, outside the Clark County School District Administration building on West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute is launching another campaign to encourage teachers to drop their union memberships.

The libertarian think tank drew criticism from the Clark County Education Association last summer when it began informing teachers union members of their right to drop their membership between July 1 and July 15. As a right-to-work state, Nevada employees have to right to choose whether to join a union.

The Clark County School District teachers' contract states union members may submit a written "opt-out" letter during a two-week period in July, notifying the district to discontinue automatic paycheck deductions for union dues. Annual dues to the union are $773.

Last year, NPRI sent an email blast to more than 12,000 teachers informing them of the opt-out period. NPRI representatives also distributed a number of opt-out letter templates and envelopes to teachers.

NPRI argues that teachers union dues are used to pad the paychecks of union leaders.

NPRI, which operates TransparentNevada.com, pointed to CCEA's former executive director, John Jasonek, who made more than $565,000 in 2010 while working for the union and affiliate organizations. Jasonek made more than $625,000 in the previous year, according to NPRI.

In response to another email blast last week, the teachers union fired back with its own campaign, warning teachers that "NPRI (is) working against your best interests."

The union argued NPRI was promoting an "anti-education, anti-union and anti-teacher agenda in an effort to reduce government spending." The union also characterized NPRI’s latest campaign as an effort to weaken teachers' collective-bargaining rights.

Following national trends, the Clark County Education Association has been suffering from declining membership, even as it boosted professional development opportunities and lobbying efforts for teachers.

Over the past six years, more than 2,100 teachers have left the union, according to NPRI. Currently, about 10,900 of Clark County's 17,200 teachers are members of the union.

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  1. "The union argued NPRI was promoting an 'anti-education, anti-union and anti-teacher agenda in an effort to reduce government spending.'" - from the article

    So reducing government spending is a bad thing?

    On a more serious note, places of employment are required to put up posters displaying the rights of an employee such as overtime pay and working conditions. Does anyone want to bet that posters in teachers' lounges contain information about being able to opt out of paying $773/yr in union dues?

  2. Wait until the District begins the new evaluation system this year. See how many teachers think they can take on CCSD without representation. CCSD may employ some bad teachers but the shortage of inspirational, qualified, competent managers is the real bane.

  3. If teachers can't negotiate for themselves, they're too stupid to teach.

  4. And the beat goes on...

    Mr. Grouch, er... Crouch; your flip comment is, what...a jab? A joke?
    Whatever, it's the kind of thoughtless aside that's typical of the anti-teacher rhetoric that permeates this state like the stink from a strip casino sewer.

    Speaking of Stench...
    NPRI, the Libertoonian Stink Tank, ought to cease & desist with their mindless meddling. Doesn't Sheldon Adelson ever tire of throwing his Casino Cash at loser political propositions?

    I guess these ultra-right-wing Nutjobs have to do SOMETHING to justify being on the 'receiving end' of Sheldon's substantial largesse... no matter how distasteful that may be.

  5. $96K comp package for 184 7-hour days is HIGHWAY ROBBERY of Nevada's taxpayers.

  6. If all that the NPRI is doing with the notification is advising the employee of his/her right to opt out of union membership, then then union shouldn't care if they are providing a benefit. But since the union is only allowing a 2 week period in the middle of the summer vacation period when the teacher is, well, "on vacation", and not paying attention to such things, then a reminder is a nice thing to have. The union should think of it as a public service.

  7. Tanker, you are correct, but the content on the posters is also dictated by law.