To opt out of MEA dues:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
- Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form.
- Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
The Maine Education Association (MEA) is the designated union for approximately 25,000 teachers, school support staff, and higher education employees throughout Maine.
For years, public employees in Maine have been forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like the MEA 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 union dues.
You can opt out of MEA dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 the MEA 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.
According to federal filings, MEA dues can be as high as $461 per year, plus $200 in National Education Association (NEA) dues and your local association dues. The average member paid $312 in dues and fees in 2022.
Yes. The MEA 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 MEA 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.
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 MEA.
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.
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.
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.
MEA has specified an opt-out window ranging from September 1st to the 30th. 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.
The MEA 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 MEA reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 01-0114035.
Maine Education Association
According to federal filings done with the U.S. Department of Labor, the MEA collected $7.3 million in dues and fees during the 2022 tax year.
In 2022 alone:
- $741,000 was spent on divisive lobbying, political candidates and campaigns.
- $27,828 was paid or contributed to various organizations.
- $80,710 was spent on hotels and travel.
- $333,895 was spent on attorneys, legal fees, and consultants.
In 2022, the union paid 66 employees and officers. Of those, 21 were paid six figures. These figures include General Counsel Andrew Mason who was compensated $183,428.
Additionally, as of the end of 2022, the union reported a stockpile of $4.8 million in spare cash assets. This is an increase of roughly $900,000 in just one year.
National Education Association
According to its filings with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, NEA collected $375 million from its members in fiscal year 2022.
In that year alone:
- $41.6 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
- $120 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This included $270,000 donated to the Democracy Alliance, a radical left organization founded by George Soros. NEA also gave $450,000 to the Strategic Victory Fund, a super PAC that has financially supported Planned Parenthood.
- $11.2 million was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues, including $1.4 million for a conference at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas.
- $19.9 million was spent on legal and consulting services.
- $311,492 was spent on food and catering.
NEA paid 694 officers and employees in 2022, 429 of whom were paid six figures. NEA president Rebecca Pringle received $449,537.