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Teacher, Beware!

Don’t be tricked to giving up your union membership!

As a high school English teacher, she was used to close reading. After 12 years in the profession, she was also used to the support, resources, and backing of her local, state, and national teachers’ unions.

Imagine her surprise when she learned she’d withdrawn from her union.

“At first I thought the email was a mistake,” she says.

Then came the dawning realization.

“I had gotten something in the spring that looked like a rebate offer, quickly submitted it, tucked the materials into a drawer, and forgot about it.”

The fine print

The mailer she received is typical of a scheme targeting teachers in the spring and summer months, often with something that looks like a check requiring a “signature for redemption” along with the recipient’s phone number, address, and email. These slick materials are produced by front groups for wealthy special interests. Their end goal? Dismantle teachers’ unions and strip educators of their rights and collective strength. They promise all the benefits of union membership—without the membership.

“These groups can be very clever in the ways they try to trick people into giving up their personal information and dropping out of their unions,” says CEA membership data analyst Cherie Young, who says scams like these ramp up in the summer.

“They often mail or hand out something resembling a check or similar document designed to make members think they’re receiving insurance or some sort of refund.”

What it is, in fact, is a form asking to resign from their union and forfeit union benefits.

“When we contact members who’ve submitted these mass-produced forms and we clarify for them,” says Young, “they’re shocked and outraged. They know the value of union membership and are angry that groups are deploying everything from prerecorded ‘workshops’ to deceptive postcards and emails designed to undermine their union.”

Don’t be fooled.

If you receive an offer promising union benefits without union membership—or money back in exchange for your signature or personal information—stop and contact your building representative, local association president, or CEA UniServ Rep.