Opt Out Today

CWA New Jersey

To opt out of CWA New Jersey 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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CWA New Jersey is the designated union for approximately 55,000 state and local government employees in New Jersey.

For years, public employees in New Jersey have been forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like CWA 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 CWA New Jersey dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.

*Note: CWA New Jersey is the statewide umbrella organization for many different CWA locals in New Jersey, including, but not limited to: Local 1000, Local 1014, Local 1018, Local 1025, Local 1031, Local 1032, Local 1033, Local 1036, Local 1037, Local 1038, Local 1039, Local 1040, Local 1042, Local 1045, Local 1058, Local 1060, Local 1065, Local 1067, Local 1071, Local 1075, Local 1077, Local 1078, Local 1079, Local 1080, Local 1081, Local 1082, Local 1083, Local 1084, Local 1085, Local 1087, Local 1088, Local 1089, Local 1090, Local 1091, and Local 1096.

Although you may be more familiar with your local, it is an affiliate of CWA New Jersey. In most cases, it is appropriate to send your opt-out form directly to CWA New Jersey.


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 CWA New Jersey 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 CWA New Jersey dues?

Dues will vary depending on your local, but typically range from several hundred to over $1,000 per year. 

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

Yes. CWA New Jersey 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, CWA New Jersey 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 CWA New Jersey. 

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.

When can I opt out of my union?

Many unions allow opt outs at various times throughout the year. However, in their union membership contracts, a number of unions have stipulated certain times during the year (“windows”) when they will allow or process opt-out requests.

CWA NJ has specified an opt-out window cut-off date of July 1st. Opt-out requests should therefore be submitted prior to this date. Although this is the timeframe that the union has specified for processing opt-outs, you can certainly fill-out an opt-out request at Opt Out Today any time throughout the year.

How does CWA spend my dues?

CWA New Jersey and its affiliated locals are private organizations with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members.

CWA Headquarters

The CWA headquarters collected $119 million from affiliated local unions in fiscal year 2022, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In 2022 alone:

  • $9.5 million was spent by CWA on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying including $35,000 paid to the Local Progress Policy Institute, a policy organization that advocates for defunding the police.
  • $5o3,170 was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
  • $795,600 was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues.
  • $4.3 million was spent on attorneys and legal services.
  • $3.5 million was spent on private consultants.

CWA paid 478 employees in 2022, 207 of whom were paid six figures. CWA president Christopher Shelton received $225,594.

CWA’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2022202120202019201820172016.