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Opt Out Today

Connecticut Education Association

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.

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The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) is the designated union for approximately 43,000 teachers, school support staff, and higher education faculty throughout Connecticut.

For years, public employees in Connecticut have been forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like the 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 most 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 membership resources, CEA dues are approximately $503 per year. But you are also required to pay dues to your local, along with $200 to the NEA.  Meaning you could be paying up to $1000 annually in dues.

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

Yes. The CEA 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, the CEA 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.

Do I lose professional liability insurance if I opt out?

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 EducatorsChristian Educators Association International, or you can obtain a policy from a traditional insurance provider.

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 the CEA.

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.

How does CEA spend my dues money?

The CEA is a private organization with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members.

However, the IRS requires unions’ 990 tax return to be a public document, and these can be found online at sites like this. The CEA reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 06-0666277.  Here is the most recent report.

A portion of the dues paid by CEA members goes to support the National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C.  You can see more information here.

National Education Association

According to its filings with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, NEA collected $377 million from its members in fiscal year 2020. In that year alone:

$50.7 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.

$120 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This included $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: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.