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.
What a great day to kick off the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week with a compelling tidbit of information that ought to sink in with Colorado citizens and elected officials. A newly-released national survey identified union member households, and then asked them this pithy 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?
The survey was able to generate results based on 500 Colorado responses, which I think you might find intriguing:
For those of you who are trying to scratch out the math on the back of a napkin or on your digital calculator, the finding boils down to this: For every 8 Coloradans who belong to a union, 3 of them only belong because they have to, or because they are afraid of what will happen if they leave. Given an estimated 169,000 workers in our state who belong to a labor organization, the finding translates into more than 60,000 Coloradans who want out of a union but can’t get out.
To compare, the involuntary rate of Colorado union membership appears to be higher than the national average, where 1 in 3 would opt out if they could:
What does this mean for K-12 education? Colorado teachers have true membership options. However, some local unions charge teachers who don’t opt out of membership each year on time, and even more locals only let teachers out during a short window of time. And while it also may be the case for other occupations, too, some teachers may not be fully aware of their existing rights and options.
That’s part of what National Employee Freedom Week is all about. Those who believe in the power of freedom and choice may wish to take note.