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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.

Additionally, the NEFW coalition released the following survey results:

  • More than 1 in 4 union members answered “Yes” in response to the question: “If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty, would you do it?”
  • More than 3 in 4 union members responded “Yes” when asked: “Should employees have the right to decide, without force or penalty, whether to join or leave a labor union?”

In addition to educating union members about their rights, NEFW also helps them exercise these rights. The NEFW website features an interactive map that includes information on opt-out windows, sample opt-out letters, and information about union alternatives.

The Independence Institute provides a similar resource with information specific to Colorado K-12 teachers and other school district employees: IndependentTeachers.org.

“Teachers in Colorado are ahead of some of their peers nationally when it comes to employee freedom, but many local boards and unions have set up hurdles that limit individual rights,” said Independence Institute senior education policy analyst Ben DeGrow. “While we fight for a fairer playing field, educators across the state deserve to know about the rights they do have.”

The Independence Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Denver.

The surveys were conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, between June 24 and July 28, 2015. They each surveyed roughly 300 people and have a margin of error of approximately 6 percent.

For more information, visit EmployeeFreedomWeek.com. To schedule an interview about the national effort, contact Lee Schalk at 704-519-8755 or lee@employeefreedomweek.com.