Q: How much are dues? Do all employees pay the same amount?

A: OEA and NEA dues vary depending on one’s salary. OEA will have your specific dues amount.

LCEA dues are the same for every member and are $7/month.

Dues are collected for nine months, starting with the October paycheck.

Q: Do I have to join the union if I work at Lane ESD?

A: No one is required to join but there are important benefits with being a member (see next question).

Q: If I’m not a member, why are dues deducted from my paycheck?

A: Those are fees deducted as a requirement of Oregon’s Fair Share law. If you decline membership in the union you still must pay your “fair share.” Fee Payers (or “fair share” members) receive some of the same benefits as regular members, with no difference in salary, holidays, health insurance, sick days, or personal leave. However, as non-members, they have no vote in LCEA elections and other decisions affecting the Association. Also, they are not eligible for legal assistance from OEA if they are ever accused of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. From OEA:

“The Association’s legal advice goes far beyond liability insurance and attorneys. Any time you have a question about your employment rights or benefits, a local OEA UniServ staff member is immediately available to answer those questions. UniServ staff will also go to bat for you with your administration when you have questions and/or concerns. If you need legal assistance, OEA’s attorneys are the best in Oregon on employment-related or education law. And, these services are free-of-charge to OEA members.”

“This is especially important for those of you who work with kids. Not only that, but “if you are sued, OEA’s liability insurance will provide you with an attorney and one million dollars in coverage for any judgment against you.”

As a Fee Payer (i.e. non-member) you can donate a portion of the fees to a charity that is acceptable to the Association. You can also choose to receive a fee reimbursement, but it frankly does not amount to much (usually under $10).

Q: Aren’t salary, benefits and leave just part of my employment?

A: No, those things are a result of contract negotiations between LCEA and Lane ESD.

Q: Do member dues go toward supporting political candidates?

A: No, your dues pay staff salaries and provide funds for the various services OEA offers to members. Visit the OEA Web site to learn more about its mission and governance policies.

If you want to get involved in supporting pro-education candidates, you can make a contribution to People for Improvement of Education (PIE), which is the political action committee of the OEA. PIE is completely separate from the OEA and gives members a chance to help elect pro-education candidates to public office. Any member can join OEA-PIE by giving a contribution, which is separate from regular dues, voluntary, and not a condition of OEA/NEA membership.

Q: How do I become a member?

A: All it takes is an application. Nothing will change in the amount withdrawn from your paycheck; your application merely changes your status from being a “Fee Payer” to a member. Contact us to get a form or download an electronic copy:

Q: What’s with all the acronyms?

A: Every organizations has its “alphabet soup.” Below is a guide to the ones members hear most often.

ESP — Education Support Professional; used in favor of “classified” to refer to non-licensed staff.

LCEA — Lane County Education Association; bargaining unit of Lane ESD.

NEA — National Education Association; national association/union for teachers and ESPs

OEA — Oregon Education Association; state affiliate of the NEA

PIE — People for the Improvement of Education; OEA’s political action committee that works to promote and elect pro-education political candidates. Contributions to PIE are voluntary and separate from regular member dues.

RA — Representative Assembly; the highest decision-making body of either the state or national association. Local associations elect RA delegates for both state and national RAs.

TREC — Three Rivers Education Council; group composed of leadership from Lane County local associations that meets monthly to network and receive the latest communication from OEA.

UniServ — Unified Service; field offices through which OEA provides member programs and services.