By Steve Gunn
LAS VEGAS – Nevada is a right-to-work state, which means employees cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.
But members of the Clark County Education Association (the teachers union in Las Vegas) only have a short opportunity each summer to drop their memberships if they choose. Many teachers, in the middle of summer vacation, probably don’t even know they can only resign from the union between July 1-15 of each year.
So the Nevada Policy Research Institute is making sure they know.
Victor Joecks, communications director for the NPRI, recently published a local newspaper editorial and appeared on a local talk show, publicizing the time frame for union resignation and listing reasons why teachers should consider quitting, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
He also showed up at a recent school board meeting with a stack of pre-written union resignation letters and stamped envelopes for teachers to use if they choose.
“Teachers should have a choice about their membership in the union,”Joecks said. “Unfortunately, they only have that choice between July 1 and 15.”
Union leaders reacted as if a crime had been committed. They accused school district employees of helping to distribute NPRI information to teachers and called for the termination of the district’s spokeswoman.
“If these guys had their way, teachers would be working minimum wage,” said John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association. “Come ask me July 15 how effective these neocons are in bashing teachers.”
Bashing teachers? It seems to us that Joecks and the NPRI are simply informing teachers of their legal rights regarding union membership. If the union is doing a great job for its members, it probably has nothing to fear when it comes to mass resignations. And if there are mass resignations, that should tell the CCEA that it has lost touch with its members and needs to do a better job representing them.
At least more teachers are now aware of their legal rights regarding continued union membership. The more information they have, the better the decisions they can make for themselves and their families.
There’s nothing at all wrong with that.