How Educators in Oregon Can Opt Out of OEA Dues
For years, public school teachers in Oregon were required to pay union dues to the Oregon Education Association (OEA) as a condition of employment and the district automatically deducted union dues from teachers’ paychecks.
However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018), public school teachers can now demand that the OEA cease withholding union dues from their paychecks.
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 OEA dues by filling out the form below, printing it and mailing it to the OEA.
To opt out of OEA dues:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the next 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 below, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form.
- Mail the completed form to the OEA at the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Completing the form above will generate a letter you can send to the OEA to resign your formal union membership and cease paying dues.
Send a signed copy of your letter to:
Bob Sande, Assistant Executive Director
Oregon Education Association
6900 SW Atlanta Street
Portland, OR 97223
We highly recommend sending the letter via certified mail so you have proof of delivery. Keep a copy of the letter and your certified mail receipt for your reference.
OEA dues for full-time teachers are currently around $607 per year, plus $189 in NEA dues and a similar amount in local association dues. The total amount of dues from all three levels of the union can range from several hundred to over $1,000 per year.
Yes. The OEA has arranged to be the “exclusive representative” of its bargaining units, meaning it is impossible for employees to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.
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, benefits and conditions of employment are all set by the contract and will remain unchanged regardless of whether you are technically a union member and regardless of whether you choose to pay union dues.
The union has been recognized by the state as the “exclusive representative” of all members of the bargaining unit, whether formal union members or not. In return for the monopoly on this particular service, unions have a corresponding legal duty to provide fair representation.
School districts are required by Oregon law to provide legal liability protection for their employees. ORS 30.285 states that public bodies (including school districts) “shall defend, save harmless and indemnify” any of their employees against legal claims “arising out of an alleged act or omission occurring in the performance of duty.” However, the NEA does carry a supplemental liability policy that you will lose access to as a nonmember.
Check with your district to learn more about your legal liability protection as an employee. If you feel additional protection is necessary, some teachers choose to replace the union’s supplemental policy with similar liability insurance from independent organizations like Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) or Christian Educators Association International (CEAI).
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 likely be ineligible for certain “members only” benefits, such as discounts on additional insurance or deals the union has arranged with businesses, if any. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.
Despite the fact that it represents public employees, the OEA is a private organization with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members or the public. Although unions representing private employees must file annual reports with the U.S. Department of Labor, unions representing only public employees have no such requirements.
However, as a nonprofit, the OEA is required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to disclose some financial information on its Form 990 tax return. These are public documents and can be found online at sites like the Foundation Center.