There are a lot of voices out there, and a lot of opinions. Here’s what you need to know about opting out of the union.

  • What is “opting out”?

    Public employees who do not want to be members of CTU can leave the union while continuing employment.

  • How much money can I save by leaving CTU?

    CTU dues can cost hundreds of dollars a year. By opting out, you will no longer pay any union dues.

  • Will I lose health insurance or other benefits?

    No. You are guaranteed any benefits provided in the collective bargaining agreement with your employer.

  • What about liability insurance and job protection?

    Alternative associations – such as the Association of American Educators – 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.

  • Why is the Illinois Policy Institute helping people opt out of CTU?

    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.

  • Why would I want to stop paying union dues?

    Public school employees who have chosen not to be union members have cited a number of reasons for doing so, including the following:

    1. The union spends too much on politics.
    2. The union doesn’t represent its members well.
    3. The family budget is tight, and that extra money could go a long way.
    4. Opting out gives you the freedom to make choices you think are best.

    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

  • What happens if I am not a member of the union?

    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 employees – both members and nonmembers. And that means you retain all benefits provided in your collective bargaining agreement, regardless of membership status.

    Examples may include the following:

    • Salary and raises
    • Health insurance
    • Pension benefits
    • Vacation days and holidays
    • Overtime pay
    • Seniority
    • Leaves of absence (including sick leave)


    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:

    • Voting rights (on ratification of contract, strike authorization, etc.)
    • Holding union office or representing the union as a delegate to a convention
    • Utilizing union-negotiated discounts (for things such as additional life insurance, health clubs, tickets to events, etc.)
    • Maintaining any liability insurance the union provides, as opposed to insurance provided by the government employer
    • Receiving newsletters or other union publications
    • Attending special union events (such as meetings, picnics, Christmas parties, etc.)
  • Which workers can opt out of the union and stop paying dues?

    Both state and local government employees can opt out of union membership and stop paying dues. This includes public school teachers, as well as workers employed by cities, towns, villages, counties, townships and the state.

  • How do I tell my employer and union to stop deducting dues?

    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.

  • What if my employer or union doesn’t honor my opt-out request?

    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.

  • Do my union dues go toward politics?

    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.


Feel free to email us at or call (630) 448-0016.


To stop your employer from deducting dues from your paycheck click here.

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