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After Split, a Local Affiliate Battles With State and National Unions for Members

The 11,000-member local union in Las Vegas, Nev.Clark County Education Association (CCEA)broke ties with its state and national union last week.

The split with the Nevada State Education Association and the National Education Association was over money and a dispute over how to reach union goals, reports the Nevada Independent.

"We have officially broken away from them," CCEA's executive dirctor John Vellardita told the newspaper. "They are an ATM machine. They expected educators in Clark County to subsidize the entire state and its operations for a flawed political agenda that doesn't advance public education in the state."

CCEA informed members in an announcement on its website that it would reduce their union dues by 40 percent, from $33.78 per paycheck to $21.25.

The break comes amid a surge of statewide teacher strikes and as unions across the country await a Supreme Court decision on whether or not unions could continue to charge dues to nonmembers.

What's more, the National Education Association has suffered similar breaks from local unions in recent years, including in Memphis, Tenn. and in Carmel, Ind.

In response to CCEA's break for independence, the NSEA and the NEA created another local: the Nevada Education Association-Southern Nevada.

The NSEA promised in a press release that members who switched to the new local would keep their benefits and gain the "strength of the largest union behind them."

"NEA-SN is the true voice of educators in Southern Nevada," said Clark County teacher Sarah Sunnasy in the release. "We are member led, member run, and the only union connected to 3.1 million education professionals through the NEA."

On Twitter, the Nevada State Education Association claimed that there was such an "overwhelming response" to the newly formed local that it had to order more membership forms.

To encourage members to join the new NEA-Southern Nevada union, NSEA president Ruben Murillo invoked the success of nationwide walkouts to secure teachers higher pay and better benefits. "Nationally, a wave of education protests is shutting down schools in right to work states, spotlighting the focus on public education funding, educator salaries, and working conditions," he said. "The new members of NEA-SN will have their voices heard in a collective manner with the NEA and NSEA in advocating for what's best for public education, here in Nevada and nationally."

CCEA told its members in the announcement about the break from the state and national union that they would get an email telling how to transfer to the new local, but that the new union "has no collective bargaining rights," and was "created to compete with CCEA, the exclusive bargaining representatives for all [Clark County School District] licensed educators."

CCEA claimed the email was a trick to get members to think that NEA-Southern Nevada is actually their new local. "This new NEA-SN is not recognized and can provide no real services to members," the announcement read.


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