The Teacher Tax: Union Takes $700/year from Ohio Educators

Chalkboard - Teachers Unions

Teachers in school districts organized by the Ohio Education Association (OEA) are charged $703.33 per year for union membership, and can be forced to pay $688.67 in annual “fair share” fees if they decline to join the union.

Barring a religious exemption, a full-time Ohio teacher with a salary of $35,000 in a district with a fair share fee must choose between finding other employment or paying 2 percent of his or her income to OEA and the National Education Association (NEA).


Local OEA affiliate dues and fees are not included in the $703.33 member dues or the $688.67 fair share fees listed in the preceding graphic, which is from the April 2014 issue of OEA’s Ohio Schoolsmagazine.

UniServ, an abbreviation for “Unified Staff Service,” is an NEA program “designed to help establish and maintain effective local affiliates by making professional staff available to provide direct support and assistance to local affiliates and the Active members of such affiliates on an on-going basis.”

Fair share fees determined by union bosses can be assessed by unions in Ohio and the 25 other states without worker freedom laws, which protect the right of workers to choose whether to support a labor union. Sometimes referred to as “agency fees,” the idea is that nonmembers covered by union contracts must pay for representation services.

The $688.67 that thousands of Ohio public school teachers are forced to pay is essentially a teacher tax, taken from educators’ paychecks and sent to OEA at taxpayer expense.

OEA collected dues and agency fees totaling $54,896,772 during the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. The union had 119,818 members and 1,550 agency fee payers.

In OEA’s annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, the union reported spending $3,933,053 on “Political Activities and Lobbying,” $5,246,965 on “Union Administration,” and $12,847,032 on “General Overhead.”

Those figures amount to $32.82 per member, $43.79 per member, and $107.22 per member, respectively.

However, according to the calendar year 2013 dues and fees OEA listed in the April 2014 issue of Ohio Schools, the union only spends $14.66 per member on non-representation purposes each year.

Like its national parent, the teachers union is consistently among the top donors to Ohio Democrats and pounds educators with “progressive” propaganda on a near-daily basis.

Regardless of how much value OEA provides to teachers, individuals employed by the union are extremely well compensated. Officers and employees working for OEA’s Columbus headquarters were paid an average of $100,435 last year.

To maintain union bosses’ six-figure salaries, OEA has increased dues as its membership has plummeted. The union had 131,000 members in August 2004.

Despite intense pressure from union bosses, some teachers have complained that OEA takes more from nonmembers than it is legally permitted to. OEA is in the process of settling a class-action complaint brought by more than a dozen current and former Ohio teachers accusing OEA and its affiliates of charging excessive fair share fees.

Meanwhile, OEA and other unions are working feverishly to dull public support for worker freedom by smearing as “confusing, complicated, controversial,” and “unsafe and unfair” the reform that would simply let workers opt out of paying union bosses.

This story was originally published at Media Trackers.

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