Opt Out Today

MSEA Michigan State Employees Association

To opt out of MSEA 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 Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA)/AFSCME Local 5 is the designated union for approximately 4,500 state, county and university employees in 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 the MSEA 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.

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.

Keep in mind:

Opting out is your constitutional right. However, unions like MSEA/AFSCME Local 5 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 MSEA dues?

Union dues for MSEA are one hour’s pay for every two weeks or roughly 1.25% of full-time salary.

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

Yes. MSEA 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 of this particular service, MSEA 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 MSEA.

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.

How does MSEA spend my dues money?

MSEA 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. MSEA reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 38-1401730.

Additionally, a portion of your local dues typically fund several related organizations, such as state and national affiliates. MSEA is an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which is required to file annual financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. The most recent report filed by AFSCME’s national headquarters is available here.