opt out
 

How to Opt Out of Your Teachers Union

Information for new agency fee payers (NEA/CTA)
If you are a member of CTA and considering becoming an agency fee payer, it’s a two-step process and now is the time to get started. First, you must resign from your union. Then between September 1st and November 15th, you must submit a request to receive your full rebate. (Late first-timers will get a prorated rebate.) For more info and form letters, please scroll down. Also, teachers who mention CTEN when they sign up with AAE for the first time will get a $30 discount off the regular $198 first year membership.

Information for existing agency fee payers (NEA/CTA)
If you were a member of CTA and have already become an agency fee payer, you must apply for your yearly rebate between September 1st and November 15th. For more info and form letters, please scroll down.

Information for new and existing agency fee payers (AFT/CFT)
If you are a member of AFT/CFT or UTLA, please call 888-290-8471 or email cteninfo@ctenhome.org for more information.


Exercising your options to opt out of the union:

Do you know you can exercise your options at any time?
(Some of the following information pertains only to NEA/CTA membership. If you are a member of AFT/CFT or UTLA, please call 888-290-8471 or email cteninfo@ctenhome.org for more information.)

As a new teacher to a district, when you are presented with your union membership forms, you can fill them out to become a member. Or, you can do nothing and you automatically become a Fair Share/Agency Fee Payer. Yearly, you will need to draft a letter requesting your rebate of monies spent by the union on items other than bargaining. A sample letter is offered for your ease. Simply click here. Fill it out, make a copy for your files and mail it certified, return receipt by November 15 of every year and you will receive the maximum rebate.

OR

If you decide to claim your right to a religious accommodation, you must inform the union of your desire to become a religious objector. To do this, draft a letter to your local union stating your sincere religious beliefs and your desire to become a religious/conscientious objector. Obtaining a religious accommodation is generally not difficult, but to ensure that you are doing everything correctly under federal law, you would be wise to contact law school professor Bruce N. Cameron. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provides Professor Cameron's assistance at no cost to religious objectors. You can call the Right to Work Foundation toll free at 800-336-3600 or contact Professor Cameron directly at bcameron@Regent.edu. Professor Cameron has litigated more religious objector cases against the National Education Association and its affiliates than any other lawyer in the country.

If you are currently a union member (you signed union membership forms) and you want to change membership status to that of Fair Share/Agency fee payer, you need to notify your local union. This can be done at any time as the former "window of opportunity" has been legally removed (Apple v. CTA ). To become a Fair Share/Agency Fee payer, draft a letter to your local union indicating your desire to change membership status. A sample letter is offered for your ease. Simply click here. Fill it out, make a copy for your files and mail it certified, return receipt requested to your local union at any time. Then draft a letter requesting your rebate of monies spent by the union on items other than bargaining. A sample letter is offered for your ease. Simply click here. Do not use these sample letters if you want to be a religious objector. Using them could badly damage your right to claim a religious accommodation.

Important: As an agency fee payer, you need to resign from your union only once. However, you must file a request for your rebate every subsequent year between September 1st and November 15th. You may use the above sample letter to request your yearly rebate.

Please make sure you include the last three paragraphs, requesting arbitration. Should the arbitrator rule in favor of the class of Agency Fee Payers and require the union to issue additional monies back, only those who have requested arbitration will get the additional money rebated to them. You do not need to attend the arbitration hearings; you only need to request arbitration when writing your rebate letter. There is no cost to the fee payer in terms of time or money to request arbitration.

OR

If you decide that you want to become a religious objector (and you qualify), draft a letter to your local union stating your sincere religious beliefs and become a Religious/Conscientious Objector. It is wise to have your letter reviewed by Professor Cameron before you send it to the union. He can help you to determine if you qualify to request a religious accommodation.

Do you know your employer cannot discriminate against you in any way for your membership category choice?

It is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you in any way because of your membership choice.

Do you know why many of your fellow teachers choose not to be a member of the union?

About 12% of all workers in the nation are unionized. Public employee unions are the only growing segment of unions with private sector unions on the decline. The younger work force has little or no interest in becoming unionized.

In 1857 a new organization was created. Its purpose was "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching, and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States ." The organization was the National Teachers Association which is now the National Education Association.

Today the National Education Association has a different mission. According to NEA Executive Director John Wilson, it is to gain power. Political power, that is. He stated in a speech on July 3, 2003, "We must become even more powerful. We must not shy away from power. It's the absence of power that saps our will and corrupts our dreams." This need for power has manifested itself in a disconnect between the membership and the leadership of the union.

Do you know that you can decertify your local union or disaffiliate from your state and national unions?

Teachers have the right to choose to separate their local teacher organization from their state and national affiliated unions either through disaffiliation or decertification. The option available to them will depend on the language in their local constitution, bylaws, and collective bargaining agreement. In some instances, teachers may need to only amend their constitution or bylaws to establish their independence. In some situations, they may be required to actually proceed through a decertification process from their present bargaining representation, while at the same time seeking election of their local association as their exclusive bargaining representative.

Any group of teachers/educators who would like to know more about the options available to them or the process that is involved should feel free to contact Rafael Ruano at www.caindependentteachers.com or (888) 993-1600.

To read more about a few districts who decided it was better to be independent and maintain greater control over their professional lives, please read this from "Contract For Failure," a research paper from the Pacific Research Institute.

For those who would like to read the entire PRI study, go here.

 


 


Download the CTEN brochure by clicking here.

Can you use a few extra hundred dollars a year? You teach in a state where you are required to pay union dues, even if you don’t want to be a member. However, you are not required to pay money that goes toward political activities. Go to our "Do you know?" page to learn how you can receive your rebate.

Copyright 2014 California Teachers Empowerment Network Phone: 1- 888-290-8471 E-Mail:CTENINFO@ctenhome.org

- California Teachers Empowerment Network is a non-profit, non-union information resource for professional teachers.
We are here to provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions.