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Opt Out Today

PSEA

To opt out of PSEA 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, and make two copies.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
  6. Provide a copy to your employer’s payroll officer and keep a copy for your files.

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PSEA is the designated union for educators and and classified employees throughout Pennsylvania. Teachers,  school nurses, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school psychologists, and more are among those in school district bargaining units. The union includes a local, a regional, the state PSEA and the National Education Association (NEA).

For years, public employees in Pennsylvania have been forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allowing unions to take their members for granted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will. (Janus v. AFSCME, 2018).

“States and public-sector unions may no longer extract [funds] from nonconsenting employees.  . . . This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue.”

Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.

It is important to know that PSEA may continue to automatically withhold dues from employees’ pay even if they never signed up for membership in the first place. The best way to ensure the deductions stop is to submit a request to the union in writing.

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 PSEA 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 PSEA dues?

Union dues for PSEA are “unified” between four levels and could be over $1,000.

As of 2020, dues for full time teachers are:

$200 to NEA
$542 to PSEA
Varies for the regional assessment
Varies for the local dues.

Does the union withhold liability insurance?
It is not the union’s responsibility to shield district employees from legal liability from the external claims. That is the responsibility of your employer. The state Constitution and Pennyslvania statutes (1 Pa.C.S. § 2310 and 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 8521-8528) also provide broad immunity from lawsuits to employees operating within the scope of their employment.

Since the first responsibility for liability for workplace issues lies with your employer, contact the district business office if you want to learn how your primary liability protection is provided.

The union pays a very small amount for a liability policy for its members that supplements the protection already provided by state law and your employer. Nonmembers are typically not covered by the union legal liability policy.

If you feel more protection is necessary, similar liability insurance can be obtained through other independent professional education associations like Keyston Teachers Association, Association of American Educators,  Christian Educators Association International or from an insurance provider.

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

Yes. PSEA 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, PSEA 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. All provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and your employer will continue to govern your employment. Your wages, health benefits, retirement and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of PSEA.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

While the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will still govern your employment, as a nonmember, the union may choose to prevent you from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings or voting in union elections, including contract ratification votes. Unions also commonly withhold any special “members-only” deals or discounts the union has arranged for 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 PSEA spend my dues money?

Pennsylvania State Education Association

PSEA collected $64.7 million in union dues from its members in fiscal year 2020, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In that year alone:

  • $3.9 million was spent on political campaign activities.
  • $422,600 was paid or contributed to a variety of organizations.
  • $2.1 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $817,700 was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues, including $172,000 in expenses at a four-star Hilton hotel in Harrisburg.
  • $27,600 was spent on food and catering.

PSEA paid 326 officers and employees in 2020, 158 of whom were paid six figures. Executive director James Vaughan received $242,243.

Also, despite having $63.4 million in cash reserves at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, PSEA increased its dues rate from $532 to $542 for the following school year. The union’s cash reserves have since grown to $73.2 million.

PSEA’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

A portion of the dues paid by PSEA members goes to support the National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

National Education Association

According to its filings with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, NEA collected $375 million from its members in fiscal year 2020.

  • $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.
  • $431,302 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: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.