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Press Release


August 19, 2008

New Milestone: Two Million American Teachers Now Corralled Into Unions,
1.3 Million Forced to Pay Dues

Legal aid foundation and non-union professional teacher group launch campaign to inform educators about their rights and professional alternatives to militant unionism

Washington, DC – As the total number of America’s teachers corralled into union collectives crosses the two million mark, a national legal aid foundation and professional educator group have joined forces in a public information campaign to educate teachers laboring under compulsory unionism about their legal rights and options.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Association of American Educators joint program will also inform teachers of professional associations that provide services to teachers who do not want to associate with the increasingly militant and political teacher unions. Many teachers object to the political agenda of teacher union bosses, while others object to knee-jerk union obstruction of school reforms that could increase the quality of education for students.

The public information campaign comes as a new study reveals the number of teachers forced under union “representation” has reached alarming heights. According to a National Institute for Labor Relations Research study released this month, 2.0 million teachers nationwide are now compelled to accept union monopoly control, meaning it is illegal for schools to bargain with individual teachers over employment terms or compensate them based on individual merit.

The study conservatively estimates that the two national teacher unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), now collect $1.3 billion dollars annually from 1.3 million teachers and thousands of other school employees in the 27 states and the District of Columbia that sanction (or do not prohibit) the firing of school employees for refusal to pay NEA or AFT union dues or fees.

With a combined total of roughly $2 billion in dues flowing into union coffers every year from states with and without right to work protections for teachers, NEA and AFT union chiefs are largely able to control education policy, elect hundreds of politicians, and lobby against education reforms, including proposals to pay high performing educators more through a merit pay system – or hard-to-hire math and science teachers. Teacher union officials’ $2 billion dollar war chest, derived mostly from forced union dues, also makes them a major political force to obtain more special union privileges. The NEA, for example, has announced it will spend $50 million on elections this fall, not including state and local affiliates.

Experts from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Association of American Educators are available for comment on this timely issue, as teachers and students are returning for another school year. To schedule an interview please contact:

  • Patrick Semmens, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation at (703) 321-8510 or

  • And Heather Reams, Association of American Educators at (703) 739-2100 or

For more information on this issue please visit AAE on Forced Unionism.

The Association of American Educators is the premier educators’ network that advances the teaching profession through teacher advocacy and protection, professional development and promoting excellence in education so that educators receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Visit

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide. Its web address is