Note: Charter school employees may be classified as public or private, depending on how they are employed, and how their employer is created, operates, and governed. The protected rights available to an employee varies based on this classification. For an explanation of how charter school employees may be classified for purposes of compulsory unionism, please read the section, “Public or Private—Why Does It Matter?”
Sometimes unions, in their constitution and bylaws or in collective bargaining agreements, attempt to impose limits on the right of members to resign. However, under Abood v. Detroit Board of Education., 431 U.S. 209 (1977), it necessarily follows from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that public-sector employees cannot constitutionally be prevented from resigning from their union at any time. In addition, the National Labor Relations Act and some state laws guarantee employees the right to resign. If you are unsure about whether you can resign or if a union is preventing you from resigning, contact a Foundation staff attorney at (800) 336-3600 or by email or click here to fill out a legal aid request form.
The decision whether to resign is yours alone. As a nonmember you are not subject to union rules and discipline. However, the union must continue to represent you and all union nonmembers fairly, without discrimination, in all collective bargaining matters. If you are a nonmember, you cannot be denied any benefits under the collective bargaining agreement with the employer because of nonmembership.
In addition, as a nonmember you have the right to object to paying a forced fee equal to membership dues. After objecting, you should only pay a reduced fee that is the portion of union dues covering collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment. As an objecting nonmember, you cannot be required to pay for members-only benefits.
If you work in a non-Right to Work state, and state law or the collective bargaining agreement includes a provision that requires charter school employees to join the union or pay union fees, after you have resigned union membership you only are legally required to pay the reduced fee. For a sample union resignation and objection letter that can be used in a non-Right to Work state where state law or the contract does require you to join the union or pay union fees, click here.
If you work in a Right to Work state or where state law or the collective bargaining agreement do not contain a forced unionism clause, once you resign you have no financial or other obligations to the union. For a sample resignation letter in these two scenarios, click here. However, if you have signed a dues deduction authorization card, the card may limit when you can revoke authorization payroll deduction of union dues. Therefore, even though you submit a valid resignation letter, it may not automatically revoke your dues deduction authorization. You may have to wait and resubmit a separate revocation letter during the actual time-frame for revocation listed on the authorization card.
Whichever letter you use, verify whether there are instructions in the union’s constitution and bylaws about to whom to send the resignation letter. Moreover, although the sample resignation/objection letter says that your objection is continuing and permanent, some unions do not honor this provision and require you to annually renew your objection. The courts are inconsistent on whether this annual objection requirement is legal. To determine whether you need to annually renew your objection, contact a Foundation staff attorney at (800) 336-3600 or by email or click here to fill out a legal aid request form.