Many Workers Don’t Know Union Member Rights

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, Membership Revocations

National Employee Freedom Week Survey: 1 in 3 Colo. Union Households Unaware of Option to Quit Membership

DENVER—Today, the Independence Institute released the results of a new survey showing that nearly one-third of Colorado union households don’t realize they can opt out of union membership and paying some or all dues without fear of penalty.

The survey is part of National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW), an annual national campaign that informs union members about their workplace rights, specifically their right to leave their union. NEFW runs Sunday, August 16, through Saturday, August 22, and consists of a record 99 organizations in 42 states.

View a list of the grassroots coalition that makes up NEFW here. View the NEFW website here.

The Google Consumer Survey poll surveyed 300 union members and union households in Colorado and found that 32.5 percent of respondents answered “No” to the question, “Are you aware that you can opt-out of union membership and of paying a portion of your union dues without losing your job or any other penalty?” Nationally, the figure is 39.2 percent. Read more…

Pueblo Teachers (& other K-12 Employees): Options to Get Union Money Back End Sept. 15

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Colorado Education Association, Membership Revocations

Have you driven through Pueblo lately? Thanks to National Employee Freedom Week, you may have seen this new billboard appear:

(It’s not just Pueblo. Many other Colorado school districts have brief opt-out windows for current members, and a few others — Colorado Springs 11, Alamosa, South Conejos — also have annual opt-out windows for non-members. Check out revocation information for Teachers and for Classified Employees) Read more…

Employee Freedom Means Giving Teachers More Chances to Opt Out of Union

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Revocations, Professional Association of Colorado Educators

June 23-29 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

One thing we can definitely celebrate this National Employee Freedom Week is the fact that Colorado teachers do have membership options — including the right to join nothing at all. But in many cases, a teacher can’t always get out of the union when she wants to, or needs to, do so.

Look at the case of Ronda Reinhardt, a Denver Public Schools teacher who had to wait nearly a full year to opt out of her union membership. Why? Because DPS negotiated with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association that teachers can only stop their membership and dues payments between November 1 and November 15 — by going down to the union office during the (school) day and filling out some forms. Read more…

Nevada Group Notifies Clark County Teachers of Brief Opt-Out Window, Membership Options

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, Membership Revocations

Every year the Independence Institute reaches out to Colorado teachers to let them know about their options, particularly the right of union members to receive a rebate of political funds collected along with their dues. This year the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has followed suit with a notice to teachers in their state’s largest district — Clark County — about a little-known provision that restricts union members’ opportunity to quit the union to the first half of July. As NPRI notes:

From July 1 to 15, most teachers are on vacation and school-related activities are the furthest things from their minds.

Read more…

September ‘Tis Season for Colo. School Employees Who Want to Opt Out of Union Dues or Fees

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Revocations

September is here. In Colorado schools across the state are back in session. As I wrote a year ago today:

But today also marks the beginning of the short time frame in which union members in several school districts can choose to opt out of a year’s worth of union dues (and in a few cases — as our recent video about Colorado teachers unions pointed out — for non-union members to opt out of paying hundreds of dollars in union fees).

Speaking of the video, here it is for those who haven’t seen it before:

For teachers union members who want to stop paying the dues and perhaps find an alternative membership option, here are the 20 Colorado school districts with opt-out deadlines in September: Read more…

September Main Time Colorado School Employees Can Opt Out of Union Dues or Non-Member Fees

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Revocations

September has arrived. For teachers and other employees in many Colorado schools, the busy season continues. But today also marks the beginning of the short time frame in which union members in several school districts can choose to opt out of a year’s worth of union dues (and in a few cases — as our recent video about Colorado teachers unions pointed out — for non-union members to opt out of paying hundreds of dollars in union fees).

Some districts allow teachers and other employees to opt in or out of unions and other membership organizations at any time. In other districts, though, opt-out periods are limited to as little as 7 days or as much as 3 months. Here are the school districts where opt-out periods begin today, with procedures for those who choose to follow them, as well as the official deadline: Read more…

Video: Unions Abuse Non-Union Teacher Paychecks

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Colorado Education Association, Membership Revocations

Check out this new Independent Teachers video about what happens when a non-union school employee who is forced to opt out of paying union fees every year misses the deadline because of family medical emergencies:

From the YouTube summary:

Due to family medical hardships, non-union Pueblo school employee Becky Robertson missed an annual deadline to opt out of union fee paycheck deductions. The union rejected her appeal. Though she had chosen not to be a union member, Becky ended up paying the union hundreds of dollars that could have been used for medical bills and other expenses. Why do Colorado laws allow this type of abuse to continue?

Which Colorado school district employees are affected by union fee opt-out policies for non-union members? Read more…

Colorado Teacher Membership Opt-Out Periods Coming in August and September

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, Membership Revocations

August has arrived — which not only means that the new school year for most Colorado students lies just around the corner, but also opens a short window of time for many Colorado teachers to make important decisions.

Teachers and other education employees in Colorado of course have a variety of professional and union membership options from which to choose. Many of those options allow teachers to join or to drop out throughout the year. But in some cases, the only time they can revoke membership is during a short window.

Some of these opt-out periods begin in August, and most end in September. (A few deadlines are in October or November.) In a handful of school districts, employees who never signed up to join a union have to opt out, too. It’s always good to be aware of these deadlines so teachers and others can make the most informed choices about their membership options.

November 1-15: DCTA Deduction Opt-Out Window

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, Membership Revocations, Uncategorized

Denver Public Schools (DPS) teachers and other education employees may join the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) or any other membership organization at any time. However, employees who currently have membership dues deducted to the DCTA (and by extension, CEA and NEA) may only cancel the automatic deduction between November 1 and November 15.

This policy is set by the terms of the negotiated master agreement between DPS and DCTA (PDF) – from Article 23:

At any time, employees in the bargaining unit wishing to become members of the Association may authorize such deduction by filing with the District through the office of the Association, a signed and dated Denver Classroom Teachers Association Salary Deduction Authorization Form authorizing the District to deduct from their monthly earnings and to remit to the Treasurer of the Association, an amount equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of the dues required for membership in the organization or organizations specified in Article 23-2 above.

Such form shall include a waiver of all right and claim against the Board, the District, and the officers and agents thereof, for moneys deducted and remitted in accordance with said authorization; and an agreement that such deductions and remittances shall continue from year to year, as so authorized, unless teachers notify the District through the Association office and on an appropriate form, that they desire to discontinue or to change such authorization. It will be possible to revoke the dues deductions only during November 1 through November 15 of each school year. Only Association revocation forms will be honored by the District. Once a revocation form has been signed and properly processed, no further action is necessary on the part of the employee to terminate deduction of the membership dues. [emphasis added]

Denver teachers and other employees who wish to sign up or to revoke membership may obtain the appropriate form by contacting DCTA at:

Office Phone: 303-831-0590
Office Email:

Below is contact information for Colorado public school employees’ other membership options (click on any email link to send):

Introducing Independent Teachers

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Feedback and Comments, Membership Options, Membership Revocations, Political Contributions, Political Refunds

The one-stop informational home for Colorado educators who want to know their options is back in business. Here’s a quick tour of what the site has to offer, with more updates and improvements slated to come:

  • About This Site introduces readers to why Independent Teachers was created, and some responses from teachers who appreciate the unique informational service
  • Membership Options gives Colorado teachers a thorough listing of the different unions, professional organizations, and other insurance options available – encouraging teachers to make the most informed choice they can
  • Revoking Membership provides details on when and how teachers can opt out of organizations to which they no longer wish to belong – in some cases, they have only two weeks out of the year to make this decision
  • Political Contributions breaks down which organizations give member money to political campaigns and how much
  • Political Refunds tells teachers who belong to the organizations that give their money to political campaigns how they can get it back, including the different Every Member Option refunds and their deadlines

Your feedback is always appreciated. You may contact us at teacher -at-