Decertification 101

“Both federal and state law requires collective bargaining for employers and employees in bargaining units [to] have either been certified in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, [Oregon Employment Relations Board], or when the employer has voluntarily recognized the employee’s union.” -Oregon Legislative Policy and Research Office’s Collective Bargaining Brief, September 2016.

Decertification essentially means you end the current exclusive bargainer’s place as the liaison between employees (teachers) and management (school board) in the bargaining unit. You assert the employees in the unit would like a different exclusive bargainer/representative.

Most exclusive bargainers at present were chosen in the 70s by teachers who no longer are working. Consequently, teachers through the years have been at the mercy of representation chosen by others. They’ve never had a say in who their exclusive bargainer is.

Most exclusive bargainers at present are tethered to state and national affiliates. Teachers, usually unknowingly, are paying most of their dues to the state and national affiliate. The local, who does all the hard work, gets very little from the total dues collected.

So: teachers never got to choose their representation, and the current representation accepts approximately 70% of dues going to the state and national, and just 30% or less to the local. The state and national affiliates cannot, by law, sit at the bargaining table. It is the local alone, by law, that gets to sit across from management.  Time to decertify.

Decertification would mean all teachers in the bargaining unit get to vote on new representation. It would be wise to choose representation that is not affiliated with a state or national association bent on taking dues money and calling the shots. Keep representation, money and decisions local. And only local.

Teachers would pay far, far less in dues. Teachers would be empowered with decision-making in the best interest of their bargaining unit alone. Teachers would retain bargaining power, legal services and professionalism. Teachers would have a voice like never before – because they’d be calling the shots, not a faraway agenda-driven state or national affiliate.

The decertification process requires strict adherence to the rules laid out in your state’s public employees bargaining agreement statues. Check them today. Take time to understand the freedom decertifying could give you and your colleagues.

Going local only = freedom and empowerment!

(Each state has a statue regarding collective bargaining in the public sector.  Some states prohibit such bargaining, some permit it, and some require it. You can go to your state’s government website and search “public employee collective bargaining”, or something similar, and most likely find information specific to your state’s laws regarding this topic.)


  1. I think I understand what this is saying. So interesting. All these years knowing “its not right”, but overwhelmed by those who were either holding on to power or those who didn’t want to know or care


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