Ask First Better, But Every Member Option Gives Glimmer of Employee Freedom

June 24-28 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.

When it comes to exercising employee freedom, many Colorado teachers may opt to stay part of the union. But they may not approve of all aspects of what the union does with their money. That’s why the Education Policy Center every year informs educators across the state about the Colorado Education Association’s December 15 deadline to get back the portion of their dues collected to fund local and state political candidates and causes.

It’s known as the “Every Member Option” or EMO — the option being that you can ask for the money back.

How much money? $39 from the union’s CEA state headquarters. In some districts, an additional local EMO worth as much as $24 must be requested separately. Interested in the option, but don’t understand the process? Spend two minutes with Jefferson County teacher Michael Alcorn, formerly a CEA member, to find out how it works:

Maybe teachers don’t know enough about their existing options if the CEA union office has to create its own response video urging members not to ask for the EMO refund. In any case, I feel fairly confident that the voice of freedom isn’t so scripted and robotic. But I’ll gladly leave it to readers to make up their own mind which video presentation is more honest and persuasive.

We might also have a clearer idea of what teachers think on the question, too, if CEA and its local affiliates had to ask first before spending their dollars on political campaigns. (By the way, a good all-around principle when it comes to employees, their membership, and their money.) For now, though, I’ll just express a little appreciation that teachers at least have the opportunity to get their money back.

Cross-posted at Ed Is Watching