By Steve Gunn

LAS VEGAS – Teacher union officials say their organizations provide a very valuable service to members.

So why should they worry when someone comes along and reminds union members that they are allowed to drop out, and when they can do it?

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If the service is so great, very few members will ever want to leave, and the union will have nothing to worry about.

But that’s not the way leaders of the Clark County Education Association (the teachers union for Las Vegas) are reacting to another round of emails that were sent to their members from the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

For the second consecutive spring the NPRI has sent out a mass email to teachers in the Clark County district, informing them of how and when to drop their union membership and save $773 in annual dues money, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Institute officials figured it was a worthwhile service to teachers, because the union has done everything possible to hide the fact that members can indeed drop out.

Information about leaving the union is buried deep within the union contract, so members aren’t likely to find it. And the drop out period is conveniently scheduled for July 1-15 of any given year, when teachers are not working and many are busy with summer activities.

Union officials were less than thrilled with the informational campaign, to say the least.

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Last year the Nevada State Education Association, the parent of the Clark County union, described the 12,000 emails sent to teachers as “union busting at its finest.” Labor officials threatened to file an unfair labor practice complaint against the Clark County district, claiming school administrators provided the teachers’ email addresses.

This year’s follow-up emails have provoked an even more livid response from union leaders. They sent a message to members telling them the “NPRI (is) working against your best interests,” the news report said.

They went on to argue that NPRI was promoting an “anti-education, anti-union and anti-teacher agenda in an effort to reduce government spending” and accused the organization of trying to weaken union collective bargaining privileges, the news report said.

Whatever the inspiration behind the NPRI emails, they will make little difference if the vast majority of union members are satisfied. And if they’re not, don’t they have the right to know how and when to leave?

Is the Clark County teachers union a voluntary organization or a prison?