Special Legal Notice to California Teachers: How to Get About a $300 refund of CTA Nonbargaining Expenses 

Sample letter for CTA MEMBERS to get your Forced Dues Refund | CTA NON-MEMBERS, click here

NOTE: The deadline to exercise your rights is November 15.

Foundation attorneys in 1997 entered into a settlement agreement for California teachers with the California Teachers Association (CTA) which protects teachers' rights under Foundation-established Supreme Court precedents. If you are a California teacher, this could save you hundreds of dollars every year. Here are the details.

Background: SB 1960 or union contracts require the school district to automatically deduct a "service fee" for the union as a condition of employment. As a result of a Foundation supported victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Assn./MEA/NEA, nonmembers of the union do not have to pay a fee equal to union dues. At most they can be required to pay a fee that reimburses the union for what the union can prove it spent for collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment. Nonmembers who invoke their rights cannot be forced to pay for several of the union's expenses, including its political and ideological expenses. Click here if you would like to see a list of expenses which the Supreme Court has ruled cannot be charged to nonmembers.

In recent years, the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association admited that about 40% of their expenses are not chargeable under Supreme Court precedents. This means that nonmembers who apply for the rebate end up paying less than 65% of dues instead of 100% of dues. Although the amount of unified dues varies for members of the California Teachers Association, the amount of the savings is around $300 per year. (If you do this during the middle of the school year, you will receive a pro-rated refund for the rest of that school year.)

How To Save Hundreds of Dollars: You must follow these simple procedures to stop the California Teachers union from using your money to support its politics. These procedures come from the settlement agreement in Apple v. CTA, Case no. 96 1904 K JFS (SD Cal. 1997) and prior U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

  • You must resign from the union. The union will not let members pay less than full union dues. The union will not let you be a member of the local without also being a member of the CTA and NEA. In the Apple case the California Teachers Association agreed to recognize the right to union members to resign their CTA, NEA and local association memberships at any time! This also includes the right of employees working under a "maintenance of membership" agreement in a union contract to resign their union membership and pay the reduced fees discussed here. No longer will these "maintenance of membership" agreements require union members to remain members of the union until the end of the union contract.

  • If you request your rebate between September 1 and November 15, you will receive your rebate check within 30-45 days. Click here for a sample letter. Make three copies:

    • Send one to Agency Fee Rebate, CTA Membership Accounting, P.O. Box 4178, Burlingame, CA 94011-4178;
    • Send one copy to the attorney Milton Chappell, who represents the teachers in the Apple case, and,
    • Keep the third copy for your records.

      You should receive your rebate of around $300 within 30 days.

  • To resign from the union, send in a resignation letter (click here for a sample letter) to your local union. Make four copies:

    • Send one to Agency Fee Rebate, CTA Membership Accounting Dept., P.O. Box 4178, Burlingame, CA 94011-4178;
    • Send one to your local association president;
    • Send one copy to the attorney Milton Chappell, who represents the teachers in the Apple case, and,
    • Keep the fourth copy for your records.

If you have any problems with either the union or the school district, you may call the Foundation toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or e-mail the Foundation's Legal Department, for free help.

Mr. Chappell's address is:

Milton Chappell
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
8001 Braddock Road, Suite 600
Springfield, VA 22160

 

What Happens If I Resign?: You have a constitutional and statutory right not to pay for any union activities other than collective bargaining. You will not be subject to union discipline and regulations for objecting to paying full union dues. Furthermore, it is illegal for either the union or employer to discriminate against nonmembers in the terms, conditions, wages, benefits, etc. of employment covered by the collected bargaining agreement.

However, nonmembers can be denied the right to ratify the collective bargaining agreement and vote on union officers, representatives, and delegates.

It is only in the area of internal union affairs, including benefits that are not paid for by the employer under the collective bargaining agreement, that the union can lawfully discriminate against nonmembers. This may include pension and insurance rights that are paid for only by union members with their dues. Click here for further information about insurance rights.

The decision whether or not to be a union member must be made by you. This information does not advocate resigning or remaining in the CTA. It only explains your legal and constitutional right to pay less and not support the union's politics.

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has further explained your rights in its Agency Shop Fee Regulations. Click here if you would like to read those regulations. If your union and employer are not in compliance with the PERB regulations, you may file an unfair labor practice charge against them with your nearest PERB regional office. Claims to recover fees illegally collected more than six months prior to filing of charges may be time barred, so it is important to pursue your claims promptly.


Most insurance -- from liability to supplemental income -- CTA provides its members can be secured form alternative sources. Both the Association of American Educators, 27405 Puerta Real, Suite 230, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (1-800-704-7799) and the Christian Educators Association International, P.O. Box 41300, Pasadena, CA, 91114-8300 (1-888-798-1124) offer their members a million dollar liability policy and other insurance that match or exceed the policies offered by the NEA to its members. You may also want to check with your school employer. Most schools carry or provide liability coverage for their teacher employees. Even the NEA Today (10-94), admitted that "your school district should provide you with primary coverage." If not, some homeowners or renters insurance may allow you to add a liability clause to your policy for a nominal fee. Thus, NEA's Educators Employment Liability Policy kicks in after any insurance available though the school district, does not cover intentional wrong-doing, and limits coverage in civil rights cases to $250,000.00, instead of the advertised $1 million. NEA Today (04-93).

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