Many Non-Union Colorado School Employees Still Must Opt Out Every Year

June 23-29 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

With most everyone out of school in the heart of summertime, it seems fitting to take a walk down memory lane. A few years ago my Education Policy Center friends talked to a Pueblo County school librarian named Becky Robertson, who told her story on this video:

Robertson’s story actually goes back to 2007, which was also highlighted in a 2008 Independence Institute op-ed. The hardships she and her family went through offered no reprieve from the local requirement that non-union members have to opt out before a September deadline each year, or end up paying a full year’s equivalent of union dues.

Unfortunately, the policy lives on in a small number of Colorado school districts. The good news from an employee freedom standpoint is that educational employees like Becky Robertson at least have the chance to opt out every fall. But that’s far outweighed by the fact that a group is forcing someone who never volunteered to join, to go through hoops in order to avoid paying them hundreds of dollars and not even get any membership benefits. I mean, as long as the person wants to keep his or her job, that is.

Imagine there’s only one cell phone company in town. But you don’t appreciate the service offered for the cost you’d have to pay, and so you stick with your land line and never subscribe. Now imagine learning that you had to submit a certified letter to that company by a certain deadline or end up having to pay them for a year of service you wouldn’t even use. Now imagine you missed the deadline because of several family medical emergencies, and the company denied your appeals. And you find out the law allows the arrangement that forces you to pay up.

Yes, it’s kind of like that.

Cross-posted at Ed Is Watching