To opt out of RI Council 94 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.
Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME (RI Council 94) is the designated union for over 7,000 state and local government employees in Rhode Island.
For years, public employees in Rhode Island have been forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like RI Council 94 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 any union dues or fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 RI Council 94 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, AFSCME Council 94 charges its members $528 per year. This does not include dues that members may pay to their local union.
RI Council 94 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.
The collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment, and RI Council 94 is legally obligated to enforce the contract on behalf of all employees, including those who choose not to join the union as members.
However, keep in mind:
Although RI Council 94 will continue to negotiate and enforce the collective bargaining agreement on your behalf, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a law in 2019 specifying that unions can require non-members to pay a “reasonable charge” for union representation during grievance and arbitration proceedings.
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 RI Council 94.
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.
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.
AFSCME Council 94
AFSCME Council 94 collected $3.9 million in dues and fees from its members in calendar year 2020, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
In 2020 alone:
- $1.7 million went to the AFSCME International headquarters in Washington, D.C., to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. AFSCME International regularly supports a host of controversial organizations.
- $119,000 was spent by AFSCME Council 94 on political activity and lobbying.
- $4,100 was given out in grants and contributions.
- $110,000 was spent on legal and arbitration fees.
AFSCME Council 94 paid 18 officers and employees in 2020, four of whom were paid six figures. Executive director Alexis Santoro was paid $129,700.
Also, despite having stockpiled $3 million in spare cash at the start of 2020, AFSCME Council 94 increased the dues amount members must pay from $516 to $528 per year. By the end of the year, its cash reserves grew to $3.2 million.
AFSCME collected $183 million from its members nationwide in 2020.
- $62 million was spent by AFSCME on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying. This includes $115,000 in campaign support to Michael Madigan, former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, who recently fell into disgrace under accusations of corruption and cronyism.
- $2.9 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $5,000 donated to the Alliance for Global Justice, a left-wing, anti-capitalist organization that grew out of the Nicaragua Network, which supported the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
- $1.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel.
- $4.6 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
- $71,500 was spent on food and catering.
AFSCME paid 484 employees in 2020, 211 of whom were paid six figures. AFSCME’s international president, Lee Saunders, was paid $357,000.