To opt out of WEA dues:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
- Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form, and make two copies.
- Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
- Provide a copy to your employer’s payroll officer and keep a copy for your files.
The Washington Education Association (WEA) is the designated union for more than 90,000 public employees who are educators in the K-12 school system, college faculty and other school employees.
For years, public employees in Washington have been forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allowing unions to take their members for granted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will. (Janus v. AFSCME, 2018).
“States and public-sector unions may no longer extract [funds] from nonconsenting employees. . . . This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue.”
Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.
It is important to know that WEA may continue to automatically withhold dues from employees’ pay even if they never signed up for membership in the first place. The best way to ensure the deductions stop is to submit a request to the union in writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.
Because it has a financial interest in continuing to withhold dues from your pay, the union may contact you and attempt to persuade you to keep your membership. Their sales pitch may include untrue claims and scare tactics. It is a good idea to try to document any questionable claims made by union representatives. Do not be bullied! If you stand your ground, there is nothing the union can do to retaliate against you for opting out.
Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. Contact the union if the deductions continue more than a couple paychecks after you submit your resignation request.
The 2020 version of the WEA membership form includes an irrevocable payment obligation stating: “I am obligated to fulfill my dues obligation to the WEA and its affiliates during the year of revocation.”
If WEA suggests they will not end your dues deduction, ask them to document that you have made any commitment beyond month to month.
As of the 2022-23 school year, Washington public school teachers typically pay more than $1,000 in union dues. This includes $202 sent to NEA, $571 to WEA, between $115 and $145 went to their UniServ, and the remainder to their local union.
Educational support personnel pay approximately $446 to WEA, and approximately $121 to NEA.
Yes. WEA has been empowered by the state to represent those in your workplace. Employees are not allowed to negotiate their own compensation or handle their own grievances with their employer, nor can they hire another person or entity to represent them.
In exchange for this unusual benefit, WEA is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.
Consequently, the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment and the union will continue to represent you in grievances, contract enforcement, discipline assistance or other proceedings governed by the collective bargaining agreement.
No. All provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and your employer will continue to govern your employment. Your wages, health benefits, retirement and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of WEA.
While the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will still govern your employment, as a nonmember, the union may choose to prevent you from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings or voting in union elections, including contract ratification votes. Unions also commonly withhold any special “members-only” deals or discounts the union has arranged for with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.
The NEA operates a professional liability insurance program using dues collected from its members. The “Educators Employment Liability Program” costs the NEA about $5 per member per year to operate. Only NEA members may access the program.
However, as the NEA points out, “it is the responsibility of your employer to provide you with insurance to protect you from personal financial liability stemming from employment-related lawsuits.” Many districts automatically provide such protection for their teachers, and some states require it. Contact the school district business office/HR department for more information about employer-provided liability protection.
If you would like personal professional liability protection unconnected to your employer and/or union, and that doesn’t require paying $1,000 or more per year in dues, you can obtain a policy from independent professional education associations like the Association of American Educators, Christian Educators Association International, or you can obtain a policy from a traditional insurance provider.
People have many reasons for not wanting to support the union. Some simply do not believe the services the union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find the union’s one-size-fits-all agenda does not serve them well because they are new to the profession, have a specialty that is not acknowledged in bargaining, or they believe their effectiveness is undercompensated. Some resent the union’s role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find the union’s political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Still others believe that union officials are corrupt and unaccountable to their membership.
Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are common. Unions can charge whatever they wish. They can spend dues money on anything they want. Often, they do not have to disclose how dues money is spent to members. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. Unions even have the ability to prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and almost never have to seek approval of the people they represent in an election to continue as the exclusive representative.
Sometimes people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures. To learn more about some of the major public unions’ expenditures in light of common faith beliefs, click here.
Washington Education Association
WEA collected $42.7 million in union dues from its members in fiscal year 2021, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.
In that year alone, at least:
- $12.6 million was sent to their national affiliate, the National Educator Association
- $2.59 million was spent on office expenses
- $1.1 million was paid in legal expenses.
- $1,063,000 was spent on political campaign activities.
- $77,000 was spent on travel for union staff.
- $288,707 was spent on conventions and meetings.
In 2020, all 3 WEA officers received more than $250k in compensation and 13 other employees received 6 figure salaries. In 2021, WEA CFO Donna Wesley received $363,645 in total compensation. While the lowest compensated member of staff, Vice President Janie White was compensated $178,966.
The union currently has a cash stockpile of $27.96 million.
WEA’s most recent IRS 990 forms are available here.
A portion of the dues paid by WEA members goes to support the National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
National Education Association
According to its filings with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, NEA collected $375 million from its members in fiscal year 2022. In that year alone:
- $41.6 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
- $120 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This included $270,000 donated to the Democracy Alliance, a radical left organization founded by George Soros. NEA also gave $450,000 to the Strategic Victory Fund, a super PAC that has financially supported Planned Parenthood.
- $11.2 million was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues, including $1.4 million for a conference at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas.
- $19.9 million was spent on legal and consulting services.
- $311,492 was spent on food and catering.
NEA paid 694 officers and employees in 2022, 429 of whom were paid six figures. NEA president Rebecca Pringle received $449,537.