Opt Out Today

AFSCME Council 18

To opt out of AFSCME Council 18 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.
5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.

AFSCME Council 18 is the designated union for various public employees in Colorado.

Important note: You may be more familiar with “AFSCME Council 76,” which was formerly the union’s statewide council in Colorado. However, Council 76 was recently absorbed by AFSCME Council 18, meaning public employees formerly represented by AFSCME Council 76 are now represented by AFSCME Council 18.

For years, public employees in Colorado could be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like AFSCME Council 18 to take their members for granted. However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018), public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will.

The court ruled that the mandatory dues requirement violated workers’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association, and that public employees have the right to choose for themselves whether to pay any union dues or fees.

You can opt out of AFSCME Council 18 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?

You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.

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 AFSCME Council 18 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 AFSCME Council 18 dues?

AFSCME Council 18 does not publicly disclose its dues amount, but dues can typically range from several hundred to over $1,000 per year.

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

Most agreements between public employers and unions in Colorado recognize the union as the “exclusive 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 AFSCME Council 18.

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

While the terms of the contract will still govern your employment, 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 AFSCME Council 18 spend my dues money?

AFSCME Council 18

AFSCME Council 18 collected $2 million in dues and fees from its members in calendar year 2018, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.

In 2018 alone, the union:

  • Spent $104,000 on legal fees.
  • Paid 81 employees, including executive director Connie Derr, who received $134,000.

Also, as of December 2018, AFSCME Council 18 has accumulated a stockpile of $387,000 in cash, savings and cash investments.

AFSCME Council 18’s most recent IRS 990 reports are available here: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015. Since 2018, AFSCME Council 76 from Colorado has merged with Council 18, so its dues revenue and expenditures may be significantly higher than those reported in 2018.

A portion of the dues paid by AFSCME Council 18 members goes to support AFSCME International.

AFSCME International

AFSCME collected $183 million from its members nationwide in 2020, according to reports it files with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

  • $62 million was spent by AFSCME on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying. This includes $115,000 in campaign support to Michael Madigan, former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, who recently fell into disgrace under accusations of corruption and cronyism.
  • $2.9 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $5,000 donated to the Alliance for Global Justice, a left-wing, anti-capitalist organization that grew out of the Nicaragua Network, which supported the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
  • $1.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
  • $4.6 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $71,500 was spent on food and catering.

AFSCME paid 484 employees in 2020, 211 of whom were paid six figures. AFSCME’s international president, Lee Saunders, was paid $357,000.

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