How Public Employees in Northern & Central California Can Opt Out of Teamsters Dues
For years, public employees in California were required to pay union dues to the Teamsters as a condition of employment and the state, city or county automatically deducted union dues from workers’ paychecks.
However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018), public employees can now demand that the Teamsters 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 Teamsters dues by filling out the form below, printing it and mailing it to your Teamsters Joint Council.
To opt out of Teamsters 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 Teamsters 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 your Teamsters Joint Council to resign your formal union membership and cease paying dues.
Send a signed copy of your letter to:
Dave Hawley, President
Teamsters Joint Council 7
250 Executive Park Blvd., Suite 3100
San Francisco, CA 94134-3392
We highly recommend sending the letter via certified mail so you have proof of delivery. You may also want to send a copy of your letter to your local Teamsters president. Keep a copy of the letter and your certified mail receipt for your reference.
Dues vary widely from one union to another, but typically range from several hundred to over $1,000 per year.
Yes. Teamsters has arranged to be the “exclusive representative” of your bargaining unit, 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, the union contract is binding on all employees in your 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.
While the terms of the contract 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 with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.
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.