New Jersey

Opt Out of Your Public Sector Union

It’s your paycheck. Union membership is your choice. Government workers in the United States now have a voice and a choice whether or not to support or pay money to a union.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQ.

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Simply enter the information below and the form will automatically be filled in. When complete, the form will be saved as a PDF to print and send to your union and employer. If you want to fill out the information manually, or print several copies for family, friends and colleagues, you can print a blank opt out form here.

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Below is a letter you can use to try and resign your membership from your union and stop paying dues. We recommend you send a copy to your union (by certified mail), a copy to your district, and keep a copy for yourself. Some unions and states may attempt to restrict this right – if you have issues, email us at [email protected] or call us at 833-33MYPAY.

Opt Out Letter

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While public employees are eligible to work without having to pay money to a union, the state of New Jersey has passed laws limiting this right. New Jersey has nearly 360,000 public employees that are represented by unions, totaling 59.5% of all public employees. Some public employee information may only be shared with the union, the associations have specific designated time to meet with employees to pressure them to join and some unions may attempt to enforce opt out “windows.” If you run into any problems, please contact our legal team here.

The main public employee unions in New Jersey are the New Jersey Education Association (NEA), the New Jersey Federation of Teachers (AFT), and AFSCME (for local government employees). New Jersey’s teachers and educational staff make up more than 230,000 of the public employees represented by unions.

Some other facts you might not have known about public sector unions in New Jersey:

  • The state recently enacted the ‘Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act” which mandates a strict timeline for workers looking to opt-out of paying union dues.
  • The average New Jersey teacher owes over $850 in dues each year.
  • NJEA has made more than $2 million in political contributions to candidates and PACs in the last five years.
  • Right to work before Janus? NO
  • 59.5% public sector employees unionized (2017)
  • Public sector union membership: 341,540 (members) / 358,513 (covered by collective bargaining/contract) (2017)
  • 66.1% state & local government employees represented by unions (2017)
  • Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act
  • NJEA has made more than $2 million in political contributions to candidates and PACs in the last five years.
  • AFT represents more than 30,000 education workers in NJ
  • NJEA represents more than 200,000 teachers and educational staff
  • NJEA average dues for teacher are over $850.
Image for Michael Thulen, Jr.

Michael Thulen, Jr.

Former President, AFSCME Local 3790

Mike Thulen Jr., was the president of AFSCME Local 3790. His personal experience with union fiscal mismanagement and obsessive partisan politics compelled him to exercise his right to opt out following the historic Janus Supreme Court ruling on June 27, 2018.

Mike’s fight isn’t over yet. Despite the Supreme Court decision, the rights of New Jersey public employees are still being undermined by the enactment of the union-fueled “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act,” which limits a union member’s ability to resign from the union and end financial contributions to it to a 10 day window following the anniversary of their employment.  Mike and several colleagues have filed a lawsuit to protect their constitutional rights from being impeded upon by restrictive windows.

“As someone who has personally committed my time and energy to stewarding my local union, I fully believe that unions can play a positive role in the workplace. We are simply asking that our labor leaders spend more time serving their members in that capacity rather than erecting arbitrary barriers meant to hold us hostage,” said Mike Thulen, Jr.

Mike has been working with My Pay My Say, to help inform public sector employees about their new rights. Read more about Mike’s story here.

Have you made the decision to leave your union? If you are willing to share your story, you can do so here

Worker Stories

The Basic Facts

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed your right to opt out of your union and the mandatory payments, which means public employees can no longer be forced to financially support a union that they do not want to be a member of.

Get started above and learn about your rights under Janus, or check out our explainer video for more information on the issue. Get answers to frequently asked questions like, “Will I be fired?” and more on our FAQ page.

State Resources

My Pay, My Say has partnered with Americans for Prosperity Foundation – New Jersey, a nonpartisan organization committed to educating citizens about the value of limited government and a free market economy. AFP Foundation’s educational programs and analyses help the public at large understand why the American free enterprise system is the best method to ensuring prosperity for all Americans.