SURVEY: 83 Percent of Wisconsinites Believe Employees Should have the Right to Leave Their Union Without Penalty

August 14, 2014

For Immediate Release
Contact: Nick Novak, 608-237-7290

The MacIver Institute Celebrates National Employee Freedom Week

[Madison, Wisc…] The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy joined 81 organizations in 45 states this week recognizing employees’ freedom to opt out of union membership.

National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) is a national effort to inform union employees about the freedoms they have to opt out of union membership and let them make the decision that’s best for them. Often that choice is freeing themselves from union membership, becoming an agency fee payer, or identifying as a religious/conscientious objector.

NEFW is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute that started on a small scale in 2012. The Las Vegas based think tank started a campaign in June of that year to inform teachers in Clark County, NV that they had the right to opt out of the Clark County Education Association from July 1-15. After the overwhelming success, the Nevada think tank began a national effort.

“National Employee Freedom Week is a great way to highlight the options that employees have when it comes to union membership,” said MacIver President Brett Healy. “Employees deserve to know their rights in our state because no person should be forced to participate and pay for an organization they may not support.”

According to a NEFW survey, an overwhelming majority in Wisconsin supports Healy’s sentiment. Nearly 83 percent of Wisconsinites said employees should have the right to leave their union without penalty.

“Unions have fought for mandatory membership for years and desperately resisted any effort to give people the freedom of choice,” Healy added. “The vast majority of Wisconsinites, however, believe forced membership in a union is wrong. Once again, unions are completely out of touch with the real world.”

For employees looking to opt out of their union in Wisconsin, they have multiple options.

Employees can become agency fee payers, ensuring no union dues go toward political activities. In this case, an employee is only required to pay dues that are legally required for the costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment.

They can also become religious or conscientious objectors; meaning employees would send their dues amount to a charitable organization instead of the union. In both cases, the worker is entitled to every benefit under the labor contract with the employer.

More information about NEFW (August 10-16, 2014) can be found at