The Alaska Policy Forum will join 39 other organizations in a national campaign to remind union members about the freedom they have to leave their unions. National Employee Freedom Week will run from June 23-29 and will highlight how unionized employees often don’t know that they have the legal right to opt-out of union membership. Employees have the right to opt-out of union membership even in a non-Right-to-Work state like Alaska. The Policy Forum will also help educate those employees on their options so they can make the decision about union membership that’s best for them.
Many union members are unaware that a portion of their dues goes to support political campaigns, public policy issues and legislation which they may not agree with. For example, if a person belongs to the NEA-AK, then about 28 percent of their dues are used for political purposes. In Anchorage, that is about $275 per year-money that could be used by the member to pay for gas, groceries and other necessities. Instead, this money is used by the NEA-AK to fund political campaigns for candidates whose beliefs and values may not correspond to the members’ values. In essence, the union member is paying campaign expenses for someone he/she may vote against.
In 2010-2011, NEA-AK spent $1,556,320 of members’ dues on activities other than collective bargaining and contract administration. These members’ dues were spent on political/ideological activities. As stated in the NEA-AK Inc consolidated financial statements, these activities include: “reproductive freedom (including abortion and birth control), anti-flag burning laws, prayer in school, school vouchers, race relations in Africa and Asia, energy conservation, human rights issues, nuclear arms freeze, child support enforcement, judicial or executive appointments, students scholarships, etc.” Teacher union members should ask themselves if 28 percent of their dues should be supporting liberal causes. It’s time to take a stand for workers’ rights. Besides, you can probably use the extra money. For more information click here.