How classified school employees and college employees can opt out of paying dues to Public School Employees of Washington/SEIU 1948 (PSE)
PSE is the designated union for classified school employees across Washington and non-instructional employees at several colleges.
For years, public employees in Washington 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, 585 US (2018)
The decision found,
“The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”
Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.
It is important to know that PSE 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.
To stop the union from deducting dues from your pay:
- 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 requesting 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.
Because it has a financial interest in continuing to withhold dues from your pay, the union may contact you and attempt to persuade you to keep your membership. Their sales pitch may include untrue claims and scare tactics. It is a good idea to try to document any questionable claims made by union representatives. Do not be bullied! If you stand your ground, there is nothing the union can do to retaliate against you for opting out.
Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. Contact the union if the deductions continue more than a couple paychecks after you submit your resignation request.
PSE has tricked some employees into signing membership forms with fine print waiving their right to resign except during a short annual window period. If the union claims you signed such a form and therefore cannot cancel the dues deductions from your pay, ask to be provided with documentation that you ever signed such an agreement and contact OptOutToday.com for assistance.
In 2017, union dues for PSE were 1.7% of wages, up to $660 per year.
Yes. PSE is the union designated to represent employees in your workplace. Employees are not allowed to negotiate their own compensation or handle their own grievances with their employer, nor can they hire another person or entity to represent them.
In exchange for this unusual benefit, PSE is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.
Consequently, 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. 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 PSE.
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.
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. Other people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures on causes like abortion advocacy and attacks on values. Additionally, the core union philosophy of conflict, oath-breaking, disrespect and greed also can be contrary to many religious beliefs. 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.
According to reports the union must file annually with the U.S. Department of Labor, PSE collected $12.6 million in dues and fees from its members in 2018 and had a paid staff of at least 52.
- $640 thousand was spent on politics, including contributions to candidates, and contributed to controversial organizations.
- $298 thousand was spent on hotels.
- $11 thousand was spent on food.
- PSE Executive Director George Dockins was paid $180,405 in 2018.
- 20 PSE employees were paid six-figures in 2018.
A portion of the dues paid by PSE members go to support the SEIU Washington State Council, which was recently fined $250,000 by the Washington State Attorney General after it failed to report making millions of dollars in political contributions.
Lastly, a portion of the dues PSE members pay goes to support SEIU International in Washington, D.C., which collected $$290 million in 2018 and had a paid staff of at least 492.
- $44.8 million was spent by SEIU International on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying, including $10,000 to Planned Parenthood.
- $2.6 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
- $6.2 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel.
- $264,000 was spent on food and catering.
- SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry was paid $274,290 in 2018.
- 254 SEIU International employees were paid six-figures in 2018.
Yes. You can download and print copies of the PSE dues cancellation form here.