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Teacher Unions: Your Money, Your Rights

In right to work states, teachers have the right to join or to refrain from joining the teachers union. But states such as Washington and Oregon have compulsory union fees as a condition of employment. This Summary of Teachers Rights informs teachers facing mandatory union fees how to protect their paychecks from funding nonrepresentational non-educational politics and sharing of their union fees with other organizations.


IDAHO TEACHER RIGHTS

Idaho teachers may revoke their union dues payroll authorization at any time according to Idaho's Right to Work statute. However, the union payroll deduction authorization form states that a teacher must resign by October 15 in order to stop the agreement to pay for union dues. For a sample UNION RESIGNATION letter for Idaho (and districts in Washington/Oregon that do NOT require union fees), click here.


WASHINGTON AND OREGON TEACHER RIGHTS

Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical." While many employees support their local union, they may desire to opt out of the state union and NEA because of their support of political and social issues that the educator opposes.

If you do not want your union dues to pay for politics with which you disagree, educators in agency fee states have two options. One is to become an objecting non-member "agency fee payer." The other option is to become a "religious objector" who is allowed to send 100% of union dues to a non-religious charity.


AGENCY FEE PAYER REBATE

If you want a union dues rebate because you have political or ideological objections to WEA/NEA's agenda, you can become a non-union objecting "agency fee payer." Agency fee payers pay the union 100% of regular dues, but "objectors" are eligible to claim a rebate of roughly 25-30% each year if they remember to request it in writing each fall. Agency fee payers pay for collective bargaining, contract maintenance, and grievance resolution services which the union is legally obligated to provide to the agency fee payers.

Use the agency fee objector letter template to exercise the right to an agency fee payer rebate. Please contact NWPE to be put on a reminder list to send in your letter each fall.


RELIGIOUS OBJECTOR

A religious objector is an individual of faith who does not want to belong to the union for reasons of conscience. Under the provisions of state law and similar federal provisions in Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act, if the union’s activities violate your sincere religious beliefs, you may choose to have the equivalent of your union dues sent to a charity rather than the union. To exercise this option, see:

For a printer-friendly document on teacher rights in compulsory union fee states, click here.




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