Public employees who do not want to be members of a union can leave the union while continuing employment.
Union dues can cost hundreds of dollars a year. By opting out, you will no longer pay any union dues.
No. You are guaranteed any benefits provided in the collective bargaining agreement with your employer.
The Illinois Policy Institute has always been a resource for workers seeking to exercise their rights and choose for themselves whether to associate with a union. We’ve created this website to make the process easy for those who want to opt out of union membership.
Government and public school employees who have chosen not to be union members have cited a number of reasons for doing so, including the following:
Whatever the reason, the choice is yours to make. If you would like specific information on how much money your union spends on politics, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonmembers do not pay any fees to the union. But you are still guaranteed the benefits provided in the collective bargaining agreement.
That’s because decades ago, Illinois’ government union leaders lobbied for the exclusive right to represent all public workers – both members and nonmembers. And that means you retain all benefits provided in your collective bargaining agreement.
Examples may include the following:
On the other hand, nonmembers are not entitled to perks guaranteed to members through the union’s internal rules or membership agreement. Examples may include:
If you are a public school employee, there are alternative organizations – such as the Association of American Educators – that offer liability insurance and job protection coverage, often at a fraction of the cost of union membership.
Interested in learning more about how Illinois public school educators can obtain liability insurance and job protection? You can learn more and sign up at the Association of American Educators.
Both state and local government employees can opt out of union membership and stop paying dues. This includes teachers in public schools as well as workers employed by cities, towns, villages, counties, townships and the state.
The process is simple: Fill out the form here, and check your email for further instructions. We will then send hard copies of the documents you need to your mailing address.
Some unions impose time restrictions on when a member can stop paying dues, but most unions are silent on when that period is open. If the union won’t tell you when you can opt out and stop your dues, we suggest sending the opt-out paperwork. That should trigger the union to either stop your dues or at least inform you when your “window” opens next.
Unions can spend member dues any way they want, and most dues don’t stay with the local bargaining unit. State and national affiliates routinely report spending millions of dollars – which can include dues – on politics every year.