This week is National Employee Freedom Week and there is certainly reason to celebrate! On June 27, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court released hundreds of thousands of non-union public employees from the burden of paying agency fees via the Janus v. AFSCME decision.
A new 2018 National Employee Freedom Week survey revealed that 51% of public sector union members agree that the Janus decision is a positive step and 31% have stopped or will stop paying dues.
In Colorado teachers do not have to join a union, but before the Janus decision a handful of school district unions burdened teachers with the chore of submitting an annual opt-out letter to avoid the paying a fee equivalent to union dues.
For more than a decade we have shared stories via publications, radio, television, and videos about unfortunate situations where school employees missed the deadline. One teacher was in the hospital. His wife was also a teacher and she was taking care of her husband at the time of the deadline. They both forgot about sending a letter to the union office to opt-out of the agency fee. They went through the proper appeals process but the union said, “Nope, we are going to make you pay.” Sadly, this couple was hit with not one fee but two. At the time, it was probably about $1,200. We could share more stories but you get the idea.
If you are a happy union member we support you in your choice. However, if you are a teacher and feel that that the union no longer represents your beliefs please check out the IndependentTeachers.org website to learn about when you can revoke your membership.
If you are a teacher looking for an alternative professional organization that provides liability insurance and other support, check out the Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE).