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NWPE "Voice" on National Employee Freedom Week
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 25, 2013, 10:36 PM   

The following editorial by Cindy Omlin, NWPE Executive Director, was published by Idaho Education News (IEN).  Readers are invited to comment on the editorial at the IEN website.

This week, Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) joins with over 40 partner organizations to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW), a first-of-its-kind national campaign to promote teachers’ rights of association.  NEFW is a national campaign with 40 partner organizations in 30 states across the nation.

NEFW (June 23-29) highlights how unionized teachers and other employees often don’t know that they have the legal right to opt-out of union membership.  NEFW will help educate employees on their options so they can make the decision about union membership that’s best for them.  Clearly educators want options.  A new national poll of union households by National Employee Freedom Week has found that 33 percent of respondents indicated they would opt out of union membership if given the chance.

National Employee Freedom Week builds on the early work of Washington state teachers, such as
Barbara Amidon,  and Jeff Leer, founding members of Northwest Professional Educators, and their supporters who began informing teachers about their ‘hidden’ rights back in the early 90s —often at much personal cost.  Even in Right to Work states like Idaho where it is illegal to require union dues as a condition of employment, union leader tactics are often successful at keeping Idaho’s teachers ignorant of their options.

The campaign is being covered by national news outlets such as 
Investors Business DailyNational Review Online, and Fox.  Here in the Northwest, coalition partners include Washington’s Freedom Foundation, Oregon’s Cascade Policy Institute, and Idaho’s Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Northwest Professional Educators hopes that this important campaign contributes to growing respect for teachers’ rights and true professionalism.  We’re grateful to the Association of American Educators for spearheading this campaign so that educators are empowered to select an association that best matches their budget and beliefs.

As AAE Executive Director and Founder Gary Beckner stated in this 
Forbes column, “Our country’s teachers are a national treasure; they shouldn’t be kept from exercising their rights. The fact remains that educators—as well as the rest of the nation’s employees—deserve to know what rights they have. Only then can they exercise their right to make informed decisions on where to send their hard-earned dollars. After all, it’s not just our students who need to learn that knowledge is power.”

More information is available at

Originally posted by Idaho Education News.

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