We at CTEN are teachers, just like you. As fellow educators we value and respect you and the work you do. We want to give you the information available about union membership and other educational issues, not just the information your unions provide, so that you can make informed decisions. That's our only goal.
Is CTEN an anti-union organization?
No, we're not. We are progressive in the belief that unions should be responsive and accountable to their membership.
Will joining CTEN cost me any money?
How do I know CTEN's information is credible?
We are here to provide reliable information from various sources, including those outside the unions, to help you make informed decisions. We have no reason to mislead you.
Is CTEN's information for all teachers?
Yes. The information provided here should be of value to all of California's teachers, regardless of union affiliation.
Do you have a political agenda?
No. We are a group of fellow teachers who have recognized that there is an information gap that short circuits the democratic process within the teachers unions. We aim to fill that gap. Our members represent a diversity of
Am I allowed to be a member of only my local bargaining union?
No. Many teachers would be happy to support their local union but not necessarily their state and national affiliates. However, NEA/CTA and AFT/CFT don't allow that option. Since the early 1970's, the national and state unions have required union members to be members at all levels-local, state, and national. If your local union is a member of the state union, then so are you.
What are some of the reasons why teachers quit the union?
Every teacher has his or her own reasons for leaving the union. Some think the union dues are unreasonable, especially when compared to the dues of other unions. Some have political disagreements with union positions, and some have religious objections to union stances.
What is the downside of leaving the union?
You will not be allowed to hold union office. You will not have any voting rights in the union - probably not even on your own contract! You will lose the union's liability insurance should you ever get sued, and if you need legal representation outside the collective bargaining context, the union will not pay for it. However, the dues money refunded to agency fee payers is more than enough to secure other liability insurance and legal coverage, which is frequently superior to the union’s. For example, go here or here.
Should I decide to do so, what steps do I have to take in order to quit the union?
Very simply, follow these instructions.
I feel that if I quit the union, I'll be "alone". Are there other groups or organizations that can help me?
Of course there are, and you're at the web site of one of them! CTEN doesn't just give information that union members can use, we also provide support, camaraderie, bulletins, and updates to our members.
Association of American Educators (http://www.aaeteachers.org) is a professional organization. It's not a union, but among other benefits it does provide liability protection for teachers who opt out of the union.
Christian Educators Association International (http://www.ceai.org) is another professional organization which has a faith-based focus.
I would like to stay in the union and try to change things from within. How can I do that?
NEA members can run in local union elections to participate in local, state or national representative bodies. There, they can speak out on issues before union decisions are made and ask questions that will hold union leaders more accountable to members.