National Employee Freedom Week is a coalition of 102 organizations in 42 states.
National Employee Freedom Week is a nationwide campaign offering an unparalleled focus on the freedoms union employees have to opt out of union membership. Featuring a diverse and nonpartisan coalition of state-based and national organizations, National Employee Freedom Week empowers union employees with information to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them, including identifying non-union alternatives that better suit their needs.
History of National Employee Freedom Week
In the summer of 2012, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Las Vegas, launched a small-scale information campaign to let teachers in Clark County, Nev., know that they could opt-out of Clark County Education Association by submitting written notice from July 1 to July 15.
The reaction was stunning. Teachers thanked NPRI for sharing that information. Hundreds of teachers wanted to leave CCEA, each for their own unique reasons, but didn’t know it was possible or forgot because of the narrow and inconvenient drop window. Empowered by the information NPRI shared, over 400 teachers opted out by submitting written notice and over 400 more left CCEA and weren’t replaced by a union member.
National Employee Freedom Week came about, because NPRI realized that there are millions of union members around the country who aren’t able to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them, because they don’t know what options they have.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Association of American Educators spearheaded the inaugural National Employee Freedom Week in 2013, but the week was a success, because 65 non-partisan organizations in 37 states came together to let union members know about the freedoms they have to opt out of union membership and make the decision about union membership that’s best for them. In 2014, NEFW grew to 81 groups in 45 states. In 2015, we saw over 100 groups join the coalition.
NPRI and AAE continue to spearhead National Employee Freedom Week, but in their states and circles of influence, coalition members have taken the lead in empowering employees with the information they need to leave union membership.
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Victor Joecks is the executive director of National Employee Freedom Week. In his day job, he is the executive vice president at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a free market think tank in Las Vegas. Victor oversees the execution of NPRI's strategic plan.
Victor holds bachelor's degrees in history and math from Hillsdale College, where he graduated with honors. Victor currently serves as a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard and graduated as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from both the Defense Information School and Warrior Leader Course.
Colin Sharkey is national director of National Employee Freedom Week, while serving as director of national projects for the Association of American Educators. In this capacity, Colin develops, cultivates, and oversees new AAE state chapters while also working with state partners in their development of new programs. He also works with like-minded educators, policy makers and organizations to expand the non-union educators’ movement.
Colin previously served as the project coordinator for the coalition relations department at The Heritage Foundation, where he supported numerous projects, including the annual Resource Bank Meeting, Policy Experts, and the Leadership for America campaign.
Before that Colin worked at the Collegiate Network as a program officer providing financial and technical assistance to nearly one hundred independent college newspapers. While he was at the Collegiate Network, a program of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Colin served as Managing Editor of CAMPUS Magazine Online, created and directed the National Security Online Resource Center, and blogged for National Review Online.
Colin received a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2005.