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Opt Out Today

Arizona Education Association

To opt out of AEA dues:

  1. Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
  2. On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
  3. Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
  4. Sign and date the form, and make two copies.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
  6. Provide a copy to your employer’s payroll officer and keep a copy for your files.
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The Arizona Education Association (AEA) is the designated union for over 20,000 teachers and other public school employees in Arizona.

Those who find themselves in a union-represented workplace should know that Arizona law has long protected public employees from being forced to financially support a union against their will. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME reaffirmed that all public employees have a constitutional right to choose for themselves whether to pay any union dues or fees.

You can opt out of AEA dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I send my resignation to the union?

In many cases, union dues are automatically deducted from employees’ paychecks. Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. If the deductions continue for more than a couple pay periods after submitting your opt-out request, contact the union.

Finally, keep in mind:

Opting out is your constitutional right. However, unions like AEA sometimes place restrictions on when they will accept opt-out requests. If the union refuses to immediately cancel dues deductions from your pay, ask them to provide you with written documentation and contact us for assistance.

How much are AEA dues?

According one of the union’s local affiliates, dues for AEA members can be as much as $756 per year. This includes $467 paid to AEA, $200 paid to NEA, and additional dues charged by local unions.

Will the union continue to represent me if I opt out?

Most agreements between public employers and unions in Arizona recognize the union as the “exclusive” or “authorized” representative of all employees covered by the agreement, regardless of their formal union membership status. As a result, the terms of the union’s agreement apply equally to all employees, even if they cease paying dues.

Will I lose wages, health care, retirement or other benefits if I opt out?

No. Your employer – not the union or the union’s agreement – is ultimately responsible for the terms and conditions of your employment. Your compensation, health benefits, retirement, and anything else provided by the district will remain unchanged if you opt out of AEA.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

While the terms of your employment will remain unchanged, union officials commonly prohibit nonmembers from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings, voting for union officers or participating in contract ratification votes. You’ll also be ineligible for any special “members only” benefits, such as discounts on additional insurance, scholarship programs, or deals the union has arranged with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.

Why do people opt out of the union?

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.

How does AEA spend my dues money?

Arizona Education Association

AEA collected $5.8 million in dues and fees from its members in fiscal year 2019, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.

In 2019 alone:

  • $112,200 was spent on political lobbying.
  • $163,900 was paid or contributed to a variety of outside organizations.
  • $357,300 was spent on attorneys and other legal fees.
  • $291,500 was spent on hotels and travel for union staff.

AEA paid at least 41 officers and employees in calendar year 2018, six of whom were paid six figures. Executive director Mark Simons’ compensation was $221,400.

As of mid-2019, AEA has a cash stockpile of $3.3 million. Of that amount, $507,000 was accumulated just in fiscal year 2019.

AEA’s most recent IRS 990 reports are available here: 2019, 2017, 2016

A portion of the dues paid by AEA members goes to support the National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

National Education Association

NEA collected $375 million from its members in fiscal year 2020.

  • $50.7 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $120 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $150,000 donated to the Advancement Project, an organization that actively supports efforts to “wholly dismantle” the police and prison system. NEA also gave $17 million to the Strategic Victory Fund, a super PAC that has financially supported Planned Parenthood.
  • $9.2 million was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues, including $596,000 for a conference at a four-star Hilton hotel in Orlando, FL.
  • $10 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $431,300 was spent on food and catering.

NEA paid 693 officers and employees in 2020, 403 of whom were paid six figures. NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia received $416,568.

NEA’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.