How to Opt Out of Union Membership – Post-Janus

union membershipThe Janus decision by the Supreme Court made it every teacher’s right to decide whether they want to belong to their teacher’s union. But how does a California teacher go about opting out of union membership?

The California State Legislature and Gov. Brown, in anticipation of the Janus ruling, passed a set of new state laws (SB 866) that impact how public-sector employees opt out of their union.

If a CA teacher wants to opt out and cancel their membership in their union, they need to go directly to their local union. If the school district is approached about dropping out, the new state law requires that the employer direct the employee (the teacher) back to their union.

The steps, in theory, are fairly straightforward if a CA teacher wants to opt out and cancel their union membership:

  1. Contact the LOCAL union. Contacting CTA or NEA or any other statewide organization that you may belong as part of your membership in your local union will not be efficient as they will likely ignore your request or redirect you to your local anyway. You can physically walk in to your local union offices, call the local’s phone line, or email the local (your representative, local officers, or staff person in charge of union membership).
  2. Inform your LOCAL union that you wish to opt out and cancel membership in the union. They will likely try to convince you to change your mind; be patient and polite and, unless you are convinced otherwise, stand firm on your decision.
  3. Request a copy of any form or instructions on how to opt out and cancel membership. Make sure that you ask questions about any unclear instructions.
  4. Follow whatever steps the union sets forth. Fill out all forms completely. Meet any deadlines or office hours to submit forms.
  5. Make copies of everything.
  6. Copy any forms that you submit to the local union and forward to your employer. The new state law leaves it up to the union to inform the employer about any employee’s requesting a stop to dues deductions. However, it doesn’t hurt to create a paper trail showing that you submitted your intention to opt out to the union at a specific date and simply shared that information with your employer, so they would be aware of it.

While it is expected that most local unions will process the requests for opting out and cancelling union membership in a timely manner, it is recommended that you begin the process as soon as possible to ensure that the dues deductions are stopped before you receive your next paycheck.

Of course, if you are planning to opt out and cancelling your union membership, you may be interested in signing up with Teacher Guardian and protecting yourself against all individual labor and legal issues that you may face. Teacher Guardian provides superior labor and legal representation to California educators at a fraction of the cost of your current dues and without any of the politics.