Sixth circuit Rules Union May Charge Religious Objector Equivalent Of Full Dues.

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Sixth circuit Rules Union May Charge Religious Objector Equivalent Of Full Dues.

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Mon May 24, 2010 6:13 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a religious objector’s petition for review and let stand a Court of Appeals decision, 569 F.3d 576 (6th Cir. 2009), that found no religious discrimination where a union charged a religious objector the equivalent of full union dues as a condition of employment. The employee claimed his union failed to accommodate his religious beliefs, in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by refusing to charge him a reduced agency fee. Reed v. United Auto Workers, (U.S., No. 09-709, cert. denied April 5, 2010)

Section 19 of National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 169, requires unions to afford religious objectors the option of fulfilling a union security obligation by paying “sums equal to such dues and initiation fees” to a tax exempt non-religious non-labor charity. Section 701(j) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(j), requires unions to accommodate employees’ sincere religious opposition to paying union dues by permitting payment of a substitute charitable contribution. Under Communications Workers of America v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988), nonmember employees can fulfill a union security obligation by paying to the labor organization an agency fee less than full union dues; the reduction reflects those expenditures not germane to collective bargaining. Reed argued that as a religious objector his fee obligation also should be reduced, just like non-member Beck objectors. Although full dues were 22% higher than the fee paid by Beck objectors, the lower court found this was not a materially adverse change in the terms or conditions of employment.
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