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NDU News

Protect Your Membership with AutoPay

Take this one simple step to preserve your right to belong to your union from opponents of public education and services.
closeup of hands typing on a computer holding a credit card

Part of belonging to a member association, such as ours at North Dakota United, is paying dues. Ultimately, the dues dollars you spend on the local, state and national levels are what keeps our union running and advocating for the quality public services and public education that our families, friends and neighbors rely upon, each and every day.  

For years, union dues have been able to be paid directly out of paychecks for educators and public employees in North Dakota and around the country. But in more than a dozen states nationwide, anti-public education and anti-public services politicians have passed laws to outlaw payroll deduction. These laws are intended to weaken public-sector unions, ultimately impacting our bargaining power, lowering our pay and benefits, decreasing our union protection, and enabling politicians to drive policies detrimental to our students, schools and classrooms. 

Laws like these have not yet been introduced in North Dakota, but after a slew of bills meant to cripple public education (including, but not limited to, multiple voucher bills and bills banning books) were introduced in the last state legislative session, we believe they could be imminent. And the consequences could be dire: If we don’t prepare, we could find ourselves in the same position as the Tennessee Education Association, which went from about 28,000 members to 0 members in one day in 2023, when the Tennessee Legislature outlawed payroll deduction. 

If you’re thinking, “Is there anything to be done besides waiting for payroll deduction to be taken away?” the answer is yes. By proactively transitioning to AutoPay, or the direct payment of union dues either through your bank account or via credit or debit card, you can protect your membership in ND United.  

As previously mentioned, there hasn’t been a law like this introduced in North Dakota – yet. But if we aren’t proactive about this, the anti-public education politicians will win. And if we let them win, we will lose our collective power to fight for decent salaries and benefits, protect educators from unfair treatment, and stand up to these politicians’ overreach into the classroom and our students’ education. Enrolling in AutoPay protects our ability to have input on decisions affecting our jobs, students, schools and public agencies. 

In some smaller local affiliates, the transition to AutoPay was spurred by a desire to maintain a healthy distance from their district’s business office. The Wishek Education Association, for example, has fewer than a dozen members, and all of them have transitioned to AutoPay. They’re a small but mighty group, and they know their power depends on their numbers. “It’s about bargaining power, for us,” said Lisa Hendrickson, a fourth-grade teacher in Wishek. “I could just see [an administrator] saying during negotiations, ‘Well, if they have enough money to pay their union dues, we don’t need to give them raises.’”  

Beyond that, Lisa is cognizant that the WEA and NDU have her back: “I believe school boards, school districts and teachers’ unions really do need to work together as a team in the best manner possible. But there is also that professional protection for us as union members. And that shouldn’t be overlooked.”  

It’s an important point. Together, our voice is stronger for our students, school funding, better pay and benefits. It’s important to protect our membership. In Wishek, the transition to AutoPay will do that, should anti-public education politicians in the North Dakota Legislature outlaw payroll deduction. 

In another corner of the state, at another local education association – 20 times the size of Wishek – the Dickinson Education Association has also found huge success transitioning to AutoPay: As of this year, 100% of the more than 200 members of the DEA now pay their dues via AutoPay.  

“I think we had some members that were a little resistant, just because they didn’t want to have to change anything, but for the most part, we didn’t get much pushback,” said Shawna Knipp, a special education teacher and president of the Dickinson Education Association. “We, as an executive board, made the decision that the only options you had were to either pay 100% upfront every year or you had to transition to AutoPay through North Dakota United.” Shawna says once the board explained their reasoning for the decision, which they said was primarily to make life easier for DEA’s bookkeepers, members hopped on board.  

Together, we are all standing together and building our numbers, so we have the collective power to bargain for the things that matter to us and stand up to these politicians’ overreach into our members’ worksites and our students’ learning environments. Renewing with AutoPay is the simplest and most effective step you can take to protect your union membership, which ultimately benefits all North Dakotans who send their children to public schools and who rely upon the essential public services our members provide.  

Thank you to everyone who has already made this easy, quick and one-time change, and to all those who will switch to AutoPay soon. And, most importantly, thank you for being members of North Dakota United! 


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education & Public Services

With more than 11,500 members across the state, NDU supports equal opportunities for success for ALL North Dakota students, and respect and support for all educators. NDU members are teachers, community college professors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers.