Since being given a choice by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus decision, over 7,200 teachers, aspiring educators, and other public education workers across Minnesota have exercised their right not to join or pay a union.
“I was a union exec board member. They only represent very liberal agendas and lack transparency. I resigned my position mid-spring and opted out now. My union refused to represent me. My county is conservative, they still don’t listen. From board exec to non-member. Also $1,200 a year more in my pocket.”
— Elena, Waconia, Minnesota
These numbers come from Education Minnesota’s annual federal report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why are teachers leaving the union?
“Opting out of the teachers’ union gave me peace of mind knowing that I wasn’t supporting political groups that go against my values and beliefs. I didn’t feel like the state and national union had the best interests of our students as a number one priority.”
— Francis, Twin Cities, Minnesota
More and more educators are done with the union’s double standards.
Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union, is a huge advocate of “making the wealthiest Minnesotans pay their fair share,” and yet charges new, underpaid teachers the same dues dollar amount as their higher-paid, tenured colleagues.
In Minnesota, the average entry-level teacher salary is $40,310 a year, according to the National Education Association. With average union membership dues ranging from $800 to $1,000 a year, 2 percent of a new teacher’s starting salary goes to the teachers’ union.
Because Education Minnesota has a flat union dues structure for state and national dues — local dues vary district to district — all union members, regardless of salary, pay the same amount for the same union representation.
Is that fair?
Education Minnesota likes to talk big about making those with larger salaries pay their fair share all while getting funded on the backs of young, underpaid teachers. Where does the money go?
Very little dues dollars remain with the local union, with most of the dollars getting sent up the chain to the state and national teachers’ unions where they underwrite areas such as administrative costs and political agendas and organizations.
In addition, $25 of every teacher’s dues get sent to Education Minnesota’s PAC — unless teachers jump through hoops to annually request a refund for this contribution — where those dollars are used to directly support political candidates and one party.
For example, in 2020 Education Minnesota’s PAC spent nearly $4 million on mostly DFL candidates, the DFL Party, and DFL political committees and political funds.
Education Minnesota’s PAC has been a leading contributor to one political party for years, despite this political ideology not being reflective of all its members. Non-union members do not lose any health insurance benefits, their tenure, seniority, or their pensions — these are provided by their employer the school district, not the union.
There are also liability coverage options that are free from partisan politics and offer double the protection the union provides for a fraction of the cost of dues.
If you are a Minnesota educator, let the union know its double standards will not fly by opting out of union membership here.
If you know a Minnesota educator, forward this email along! The window to opt-out of membership is going on now through September 30, 2021. If you miss the window, you will automatically be locked into paying dues for another year.
You will not lose any salary or health insurance benefits, your tenure, seniority, or pension as a non-union member, as those are provided through your district employer, not the union.
Questions? Email [email protected]!