Many Workers Don’t Know Union Member Rights

National Employee Freedom Week Survey: 1 in 3 Colo. Union Households Unaware of Option to Quit Membership

DENVER—Today, the Independence Institute released the results of a new survey showing that nearly one-third of Colorado union households don’t realize they can opt out of union membership and paying some or all dues without fear of penalty.

The survey is part of National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW), an annual national campaign that informs union members about their workplace rights, specifically their right to leave their union. NEFW runs Sunday, August 16, through Saturday, August 22, and consists of a record 99 organizations in 42 states.

View a list of the grassroots coalition that makes up NEFW here. View the NEFW website here.

The Google Consumer Survey poll surveyed 300 union members and union households in Colorado and found that 32.5 percent of respondents answered “No” to the question, “Are you aware that you can opt-out of union membership and of paying a portion of your union dues without losing your job or any other penalty?” Nationally, the figure is 39.2 percent.

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Pueblo Teachers (& other K-12 Employees): Options to Get Union Money Back End Sept. 15

Have you driven through Pueblo lately? Thanks to National Employee Freedom Week, you may have seen this new billboard appear:

(It’s not just Pueblo. Many other Colorado school districts have brief opt-out windows for current members, and a few others — Colorado Springs 11, Alamosa, South Conejos — also have annual opt-out windows for non-members. Check out revocation information for Teachers and for Classified Employees)

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Employee Freedom Means Giving Teachers More Chances to Opt Out of Union

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.

One thing we can definitely celebrate this National Employee Freedom Week is the fact that Colorado teachers do have membership options — including the right to join nothing at all. But in many cases, a teacher can’t always get out of the union when she wants to, or needs to, do so.

Look at the case of Ronda Reinhardt, a Denver Public Schools teacher who had to wait nearly a full year to opt out of her union membership. Why? Because DPS negotiated with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association that teachers can only stop their membership and dues payments between November 1 and November 15 — by going down to the union office during the (school) day and filling out some forms.

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Nevada Group Notifies Clark County Teachers of Brief Opt-Out Window, Membership Options

Every year the Independence Institute reaches out to Colorado teachers to let them know about their options, particularly the right of union members to receive a rebate of political funds collected along with their dues. This year the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has followed suit with a notice to teachers in their state’s largest district — Clark County — about a little-known provision that restricts union members’ opportunity to quit the union to the first half of July. As NPRI notes:

From July 1 to 15, most teachers are on vacation and school-related activities are the furthest things from their minds.

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September ‘Tis Season for Colo. School Employees Who Want to Opt Out of Union Dues or Fees

September is here. In Colorado schools across the state are back in session. As I wrote a year ago today:

But today also marks the beginning of the short time frame in which union members in several school districts can choose to opt out of a year’s worth of union dues (and in a few cases — as our recent video about Colorado teachers unions pointed out — for non-union members to opt out of paying hundreds of dollars in union fees).

Speaking of the video, here it is for those who haven’t seen it before:

For teachers union members who want to stop paying the dues and perhaps find an alternative membership option, here are the 20 Colorado school districts with opt-out deadlines in September:

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