Editorial: Union opt out

Clark County educators should be free to join the local teachers union if they so desire. And, indeed, they may sign up at any time.

But existing union members who decide to renounce their membership in the Clark County Education Association have no such flexibility. Instead, teachers who seek to drop out of the union have only a two-week period to exercise that option.

The window runs from July 1-July 15. Not surprisingly, that’s when most teachers are off for the summer, distracted by other pursuits.

Nevertheless, a significant number of those in the classroom have recently left the association, thanks in large part to a campaign by the Nevada Policy Research Institute to inform teachers of their rights.

As of last September, NPRI reports, just 9,526 of 18,275 Clark County teachers paid union dues of nearly $800 a year. Over the summer of 2015, more than 1,300 Las Vegas teachers took advantage of the two-week July opportunity to drop their membership.

Since 2007, there has been a steady decline in union membership among Clark County teachers.

The two-week window is the result of a clause in the contract between the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association. The provision is unfair. Teachers should be able to exercise their right to free association at any time.

But for now, the clause remains. Which means Clark County teachers pondering whether to leave the union have until next Friday to make up their minds.

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