Opt Out Today

Colorado Education Association (CEA)

To opt out of CEA 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.

The Colorado Education Association (CEA) is the designated union for approximately 40,000 teachers and other public school employees in Colorado.

For years, public employees in Colorado could be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like CEA 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 CEA 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 CEA 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 CEA dues?

According to one of the union’s local affiliates, the Aurora Education Association, full-time educators can pay as much as $76 per month and part-time educators as much as $39 per month in dues.

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

Most agreements between school districts 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.

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.

Does the NEA withhold liability insurance?

It is not the union’s responsibility to shield district employees from legal liability from the external claims. That is the responsibility of your employer. Contact the district business office if you want to learn how your primary liability protection is provided.

The NEA pays roughly $5 for a liability policy for its members that supplements the protection already provided by your employer. Nonmembers are not covered by the NEA liability policy.

If you feel more protection is necessary, similar liability insurance can be obtained through other independent professional education associations like Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), Christian Educators Association International, a homeowner’s policy, or from an insurance provider.

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 CEA spend my dues money?

Colorado Education Association

CEA collected $11 million in dues and fees from its members in fiscal year 2018, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.

In that year alone:

  • $510,000 went to travel expenses.
  • $163,000 was spent on legal fees.

CEA paid 62 employees in calendar year 2017, at least nine of whom were paid over $160,000. Executive director Bradley Bartels received $237,000.

Also, as of August 2018, CEA has accumulated a stockpile of $5.5 million in spare cash.

CEA’s most recent IRS 990 reports are available here: 2018, 2017, 2016.

A portion of the dues paid by CEA members goes to support the National Education Association.

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 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.