Opt Out Today

AFT Michigan

To opt out of AFT Michigan 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 two copies of 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 forms.
  5. Mail one of the signed forms to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
  6. Mail a second signed form to your local association.
  7. Send a copy of the form to your employer’s payroll officer and keep a copy for your files.

AFT Michigan is the designated union for approximately 35,000 public school teachers, support staff and higher education employees throughout Michigan.

In the past, public employees in Michigan could be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like AFT Michigan to take their members for granted. However, because Michigan is now a “right-to-work” state, public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor 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 AFT Michigan dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.

Note: Although your local association may go by a different name, it is an affiliate of AFT Michigan. In most cases, it is appropriate to send your opt-out form directly to AFT Michigan.

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. 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 AFT Michigan dues?

According to federal filings, AFT Michigan charges up to $231 per year, not including additional dues collected by its local and national affiliates. Dues from all levels of the union can typically range from several hundred to over $1,000 per year.

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

Yes. AFT Michigan has arranged to be the “exclusive representative” of its bargaining units, meaning it is impossible for workers to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.

In exchange for the monopoly on this particular service, AFT Michigan is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.

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.

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

No. Under state law, a union contract is binding on all employees in a bargaining unit, regardless of whether they are technically union “members.” Your compensation, health benefits, retirement, and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of AFT Michigan.

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 the major public unions’ expenditures in light of common faith beliefs click here.

How does AFT Michigan spend my dues money?

AFT Michigan

AFT Michigan collected $2.8 million from its affiliated local unions in fiscal year 2020, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In 2020 alone:

  • $175,600 went to political activities and lobbying.
  • $61,800 was paid or contributed to a variety of outside organizations.
  • $237,000 was spent on private attorneys.
  • $42,500 was spent on hosting union conference at the University of Michigan.

AFT Michigan paid 31 officers and employees in 2020, nine of whom were paid six figures. President David Hecerk received $171,087.

Also, despite having $1.4 million in cash reserves in mid-2019, AFT Michigan increased its dues rate from $227 to $231 per year. The union’s cash stockpile has since grown to $1.5 million.

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

A portion of the dues paid by AFT Michigan members goes to support the American Federation of Teachers national headquarters.

American Federation of Teachers

The AFT headquarters collected $186 million from its members in fiscal year 2020.

  • $31.3 million was spent by AFT on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying. This includes a $150,000 contribution to Emily’s List, an organization whose mission is to put Democratic, pro-abortion women into elected offices.
  • $8.5 million was paid or contributed to a variety of organizations, many of which are ideologically driven.
  • $5.6 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff. This includes $197,000 spent on a conference at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. AFT also paid $85,000 for limousine and luxury chauffeuring services.
  • $9.7 million was spent on private attorneys and consultants.
  • $84,000 was spent on food and catering.

AFT paid 374 officers and employees in 2020, 235 of whom were paid six figures. AFT president Rhonda Weingarten received $453,000.

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