For Colorado public educators, it’s that time of year again. Current members of many CEA local affiliates who want or need to drop their membership and stop their dues payments have to wait until next school year. For those who want to keep their membership but would rather decide how to spend their (as much as $63 in) Every Member Option automatic political deduction on their own, the clock is ticking to request one or both refunds.
Every year my Education Policy Center friends reach out to thousands of Colorado educators with the information. General awareness of the EMO political refund has grown, but every year they still encounter union members who hadn’t known about the scheme.
When one of the largest union locals — the Denver Classroom Teachers Association — signs up recruits with a membership form that makes no mention of the EMO, what else would you expect? That doesn’t even take into account what would happen if they contacted the local union office.
So how does a teachers union member make a decision about asking for $63 back or maybe just the $24 from the local union or the $39 back from CEA? Some may find short, nostalgic animated videos to be attention-grabbing. This little blogging prodigy certainly does.
But that’s not going to have as much impact on the actual decision as one’s personal finances or political views. (In four years, CEA and company have gone from supporting one political party over the other from a 49:1 ratio to a whopping 307:1 ratio.) Or maybe a member is just disgusted at seeing their automatically deducted funds underwriting the malicious distortions of shadowy committees.
For years, CEA officials would attack the source of the information to discourage the rank-and-file from exercising the political opt-out. More recently they produced their own video of dispassionate interviewees carefully reading scripted comments about the automatic investments made by the EMO.
I don’t know how many potential refund requestors’ minds that video might change, but clearly union leaders would be inclined to create something a lot more persuasive if educators had to opt in to the political deduction rather than opt out.
Of course, Colorado educators who are perfectly content with their membership (or lack thereof) and the use of their dues money may not have to do anything whatsoever. But let’s make sure they all have the information and can decide for themselves, okay? Thanks as always for helping to spread the word!