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Your Educator Right of Association

Your right to associate with a professional association or to join a union is an important decision not to be taken lightly. The decision is yours. You have the right to investigate several alternatives without fear of reprisal by the school division or a union.

  • Your school division cannot discriminate against you based on your union membership status.

  • You have the right to join a union.

  • You cannot be required to join a union.

  • Non-union members cannot be required to pay union dues or fees.

  • Unions in Virginia do not negotiate a collective bargaining contract.

  • You also have the right to join a professional association.

  • If you wish to opt-out of a union membership, the union may attempt to impose a delay or require a certain “window” to do so. You should consult with the professional association you plan to join for assistance.

This document provides general information and is not intended to offer legal advice about specific situations. If you believe your rights related to abstaining from union membership are being violated, please contact your professional association, a public interest law firm, or an attorney. If you believe your rights related to voluntary union membership are being violated, including discrimination against you by an employer, please contact your union attorney.

Virginia Teacher Choice is an online resource and community for educators and education in Virginia interested in learning about their rights with respect to union membership. Learn more at