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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.