How State University Employees in Oregon Can Opt Out of SEIU 503 Dues
For years, classified employees at Oregon’s public universities were required to pay union dues to SEIU 503 as a condition of employment and the university automatically deducted union dues from workers’ paychecks.
However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018), state university employees can now demand that SEIU 503 cease withholding union dues/fees 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 SEIU 503 dues by filling out the form below, printing it and mailing it to SEIU 503.
To opt out of SEIU 503 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 SEIU 503 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 SEIU 503 to resign your formal union membership and cease paying dues.
Send a signed copy of your letter to:
Melissa Unger, Executive Director
P.O. Box 12159
Salem, OR 97309
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.
According to federal filings, the union’s dues in 2017 were 1.7 percent of your salary per month plus $2.75 per month. Dues for university employees may differ, but the average state employee paid about $1,000 in SEIU 503 dues last year.
Yes. SEIU 503 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.
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.
No. Your health insurance and other employer-provided benefits will remain the same regardless of your union membership status.
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.
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 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.
According to reports the union must file with the U.S. Department of Labor, SEIU 503 collected over $30 million in dues and fees from its members in 2017.
- $7.3 million (nearly 25 percent) went to the SEIU’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. The national SEIU regularly supports a host of controversial organizations like Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion provider — which received $20,000 from SEIU last year alone.
- $4.2 million (about 14 percent) was spent by SEIU 503 on political candidates and causes in Oregon.
- $117,969 was paid to private attorneys, some of which was used to fight efforts by the Freedom Foundation to help public employees exercise their constitutional rights.
- $232,100 was spent on hotels, travel, food and catering for union staff.
Examples of some interesting expenses include:
- $2.8 million contributed to “Yes on 97,” the campaign for a 2016 ballot measure that 60 percent of Oregonians rejected.
- $330,560 paid to Our Oregon, the left-wing group responsible for the failed Yes on 97 campaign.
- $100,000 paid to Defend Oregon, another political group dedicated solely to ballot measures in Oregon.
- $129,185 paid to professional political consultants.
- 17 SEIU 503 employees were paid six-figure salaries last year.
- SEIU 503 executive director Melissa Unger received a salary of $114,142 last year.
- SEIU international president Mary Kay Henry received a salary of $282,752 last year.
The IRS requires unions to annually file a form 990 tax return. These are public documents and can be found online at sites like the Foundation Center.
A few public sector unions are required to file an LM-2 report with the U.S. Department of Labor. They can be viewed at the U.S. DOL union search page.