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VICTOR JOECKS: Teachers can cancel CCEA membership from July 1 to 15

Here’s something the Clark County Education Association hopes teachers don’t learn about. From July 1 to 15, teachers can cancel their union membership and save themselves more than $800 a year.

Teachers may sign up for union membership at any time. But the union allows them to leave only during a two-week window smack dab in the middle of summer. To opt out, teachers have to submit written notice to the association between July 1 and 15. The inconvenience is obviously intentional. If teachers forget, they’re stuck paying union dues for at least another year.

Union membership isn’t required. But the CCEA has access to teachers during the Clark County School District’s new teacher orientation. This is a huge help to its recruitment efforts. The union knows it doesn’t have to provide an excellent product. If it can con teachers into signing up one time, its restrictions on canceling membership will keep many teachers trapped for years.

There are numerous reasons a teacher may want to leave the union. The obvious one is the cost. In 2019, CCEA dues were $630 a year. That was already a lot of money, especially for a first-year teacher. In November, the union increased its dues by $216 a year for an overtly political purpose. The money will fund two new tax-hiking initiative campaigns, including a proposal to increase the sales tax by 1.5 percentage points.

If you disagree with the union’s agenda or simply don’t want your money going toward politics, now is your chance to cancel your union membership. Imagine what you could do with an extra $846 a year in your pocket. It could help you pay for your car, your groceries or even a vacation.

If the CCEA wanted access to more money, it could have reduced the pay of its top officials. Executive director John Vellardita raked in more than $210,000 in total compensation from September 2017 to August 2018, the latest data available shows. Five other union employees cashed in for more than $155,000 in total compensation.

In total, the union spent more than $3.1 million that year on employee compensation. That doesn’t include the more than $360,000 it spent on outside legal counsel.

Some teachers may disagree with the union’s illegal negotiating tactics. Last fall, Vellardita threatened a teacher strike if the district didn’t agree to its contract demands. Such actions are illegal under Nevada law, although Superintendent Jesus Jara never took the issue to court.

Teachers who leave the union won’t be alone either. As of November, the district employed 18,864 teachers. About 55 percent — or 10,449 teachers — had CCEA dues deducted. That means almost 45 percent of teachers aren’t CCEA members.

If you want to join them, you must submit written notice to the union — soon. Its address is 4230 McLeod Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89121. Cancel while you can, because the union wants nothing more than to keep teachers and their money trapped for another year.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 3 p.m. with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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