If you're a union member who's considering moving on to another job, knowing how to write a formal resignation letter is a useful skill. Understanding who to address, what to include in your letter and how to submit it can help you maintain important professional connections and uphold your reputation. You may also be able to limit unnecessary union fees by submitting a proper resignation letter. In this article, we define union resignation letters, examine reasons for writing them, show how to resign from a union with a letter and provide a template and example.
Related: What Is a Union?
What is a union resignation letter?
A union resignation letter is a formal document that ends a union membership. It's a professional, straightforward method of announcing you're leaving the union, which can prevent confusion and ensure a smooth transition. A resignation letter can also help union leaders contact you after your membership ends to follow up on benefits, fees and other union matters. When submitting a union resignation letter, it's best practice to send a physical copy through certified mail or to submit it in person.
Why write a letter to resign from a union?
If you're considering leaving a union, you can write a resignation letter to formally announce your plans to the right people. Depending on the type of union you belong to, you may send your letter to several parties, including a union leader, a work supervisor or your payroll department. You can also maintain a copy of the resignation letter for your records, which can clarify confusion if any challenges arise in the resignation process. You may also write a resignation letter to:
- Share why you're leaving the union
- Provide your contact information
- Thank union leaders for their efforts
- Ensure payroll deduction ceases
- Prevent miscommunication
Some union members resign in order to stop paying union dues. Others choose to leave due to a personal, religious or political reason. In this situation, it typically isn't necessary to include the details of why you're leaving in a resignation letter. Instead, consider discussing any personal reasons with a union representative via email, over the phone or in person.
How to write a union resignation letter
You can follow the steps below to help you write a professional union resignation letter:
1. Add contact information
At the beginning of your document, you can use the business letter format to include the essential information below:
- Your name
- Your contact information
- The date you sent the letter
- The name of the union
- The union's address or other relevant contact information
2. Learn your recipient
Who you address your union resignation letter to depends on your position in the union, how it's organized and whether you pay dues by payroll deduction. To find the right recipient for your letter, consider contacting former union members in your network or asking a trusted union representative for more information. Union resignation letters are often addressed to:
- Union leaders, such as the union president
- Employers, especially if employers work directly with the union
Payroll employees, especially if payroll automatically deducts union dues from your paycheck
Related: 7 Types of Unions and How They Work
3. Make your formal announcement
Start your letter by providing a clear notification of your decision to leave the union. You can mention whether your resignation is effective immediately or beginning at a later date. You may also consider acknowledging your loss of union benefits, rights and responsibilities and assure your recipient that you plan to finish paying any outstanding fees.
4. Discuss union dues
You may mention any remaining union dues. If you authorized your union to subtract dues from your paycheck, you can announce your intention to withdraw the authorization, which can help ensure deductions cease in a timely manner. Some unions require you to sign a form within a specific window of time to cancel your due payment. For more information about the form you need and the right time to submit it, consider contacting a union representative.
You can also try checking if your state has "right to work" laws. These laws specify that an employee's union membership status doesn't affect their employment situation or current salary. Understanding your state's union-related laws can clarify how resigning may affect your job and income, which can help you write this section with confidence.
5. Provide a reason
Consider sharing the reason you're leaving the union. For example, if you're a highly involved union member, have developed friendships within the union, or occupy a leadership role, explaining why you're leaving can help maintain valuable professional relationships. When resigning due to a sensitive reason, you may choose to omit this paragraph or briefly thank union leaders for their efforts.
Related: How To Resign Gracefully (With Tips)
6. Include a formal signature
To conclude your resignation letter, you can add one or two final remarks, a professional farewell and your name. Your final remark could:
- Confirm that your resignation is permanent
- Express warm wishes toward the union moving forward
- Thank your recipient for their understanding
- Ask for an important follow-up document, such as a return receipt
7. Submit your letter
There are two acceptable methods of submitting your union resignation letter: via certified mail or in person. When sending your resignation letter through the mail, you can attach a return receipt to formally document your resignation. If you choose to submit your letter in person, you can request a signed delivery receipt instead. Along with the receipt, consider keeping an additional copy of the resignation letter for your records.
Template for a union resignation letter
You can use the template below to help you write your union resignation letter:
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
[Name of the union]
[Address of the union]
[Other relevant contact information for the union]
Dear [name and union role of your recipient],
I'm writing to officially announce my resignation as [your union position] of [name of the union], effective immediately. I understand that by resigning, I'm relinquishing my union privileges and responsibilities. I plan to fulfill my due obligation until [the end of the current payment period].
In addition, please consider this letter a formal notification that I am revoking my authorization for payroll deduction of union dues. If [name of the union] requires a signed form for this change, kindly send it to me as soon as possible.
I've decided to leave the union due to [briefly mention the reason, or consider omitting this section if it's because of a personal reason]. Thank you for [your support in this decision].
[Include one or two final sentences here.]
Union resignation letter example
Here is an example of a union resignation letter:
123 West 19th Street, Apartment 456
Chicago, Illinois, 78901
May 15, 2021
Chicago Elementary School Teacher's Union
888 South Wabash Road
Chicago, Illinois, 78901
Dear President Darren Maxwell,
I'm writing to officially announce my resignation as Treasurer of the Chicago Elementary School Teacher's Union, effective immediately. I understand that by resigning, I'm relinquishing my union privileges and responsibilities. I plan to fulfill my dues obligation until the end of the current payment period.
In addition, please consider this letter a formal notification that I am revoking my authorization for payroll deduction of union dues. If Chicago Elementary School Teacher's Union requires a signed form for this change, please send it to me as soon as possible.
I've decided to leave the union because I am moving to Boston, Massachusetts, at the end of this month. I've been offered an administrator position there, and I look forward to advancing my career in education with Boston Public Schools. Thank you for supporting my career growth over the past seven years. I appreciate your commitment to improving working conditions for all elementary school teachers.
I've included a delivery receipt. Please kindly sign and return it to me within a week. I wish the Chicago Elementary School Teacher's Union all the best in its future endeavors.
West 19th Street School
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