Flyers urge teachers in Spokane, statewide to opt out of union

Jim Allen:

The flyers, tens of thousands of them, arrived during the holidays at the homes of educators in Spokane and throughout the state.

“Give yourself a raise this Christmas and every Christmas to come!” they read.

At first glance, the brightly-colored flyer looks like a last-chance sale advertisement from a retailer, including a chance to “save up to $1,200.” A website,, shows you how.

Actually, it’s an invitation from an Olympia-based conservative think tank to save that money by opting out of paying membership dues to the Washington Education Association, the statewide teacher’s union.

“They’ve been doing this every year, so I wasn’t surprised,” said Jeremy Shay, who as a teacher simply tossed them in the trash.

Now, as president of the Spokane Education Association, he fields occasional questions from new teachers about the flyers.

They are part of an intensifying battle between the state’s labor unions and the Freedom Foundation, which states on its website that it’s “working to reduce the stranglehold unions have” on state and local laws and policies.

Following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Janus vs. AFSCME case, public employees are free to opt out of paying dues to their unions.