Christian’s Forced Union Dues Spark Discrimination Accusations

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Union, SEIU
Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) hold a rally in support of the American Federation of County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union at the Richard J. Daley Center plaza on February 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. |

A security guard has filed discrimination charges against his employer for deducting union dues from his salary, even though he has repeatedly identified union membership as a violation of his religious beliefs.

Thomas Ross, a San Francisco-based security guard who works for Allied Universal, filed discrimination charges against his employer for forcing him to join the Service Employees International Union in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and federal labor law. . While Ross repeatedly informed his employers of his religious objection to joining the union, his employer still withdrew union dues from his salary.

The National Workplace Legal Defense Foundation, which provides Ross with free legal assistance, detailed the circumstances that led Ross to file federal discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. and unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

“The Foundation is proud to help workers who bravely stand up for what they believe in even in the midst of union coercion,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said in a statement. “However, it is important to recognize that whether an employee’s objection to union membership is religious in nature or not, no American worker should ever be forced to subsidize union activities they object to.”

In the discrimination charges, Ross said his employer disregarded his well-documented and previously approved request for a religious accommodation to the requirement that he join the union and “demanded that I sign a retainer. payroll, join the union and pay union dues. ”

Documents obtained by The Christian Post show correspondence between Ross, his employer and union officials dating back to 2020. In a letter dated August 4, 2020, Ross told President David Huerta of the United Services Workers-West Chapter of the Service Employees International Union that he had “a sincere religious belief which precludes me from being able to conscientiously join or financially support the union, a belief which is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964″.

Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of religion. Ross explained the reasons for his inability to join the union in his letter to Huerta, explaining that “the Bible teaches that employees should submit to their employers with ‘fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service; as agreeable men; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will, serving as to the Lord and not to men” (Ephesians 6:5-7). »

Ross cited additional biblical passages pointing out that he is “commanded to submit to my employer as to Jesus Christ” and, therefore, to “strike, come out, speak ill of, disobey, undermine or cause the discontent against my employer is rebelling against Jesus Christ. The security guard pointed to Matthew 20:2, 15 as evidence that “Christ also specifically taught individual bargaining rather than collective bargaining for laborers.”

Ross concluded his request for religious accommodation by expressing concern that joining a union would force him to support laws that would “pursue Christians and other religious business owners and compel them to violate their conscience or to lose their businesses”. An Aug. 31 letter written by Ross states that the union “appears to be satisfied with the content” of his request for religious accommodation and has allowed him to “work without any difficulty since 8/2020.”

In the August 31 letter, Ross noted that he had received a request to provide information about any “changes in telephone numbers or addresses” along with a notice advising him that although “this form does not not join the union”, it serves as an “acknowledgment that you are aware of the union”.

Ross claimed that in addition to the notice, the form he received via email persuaded him to tick an option that said “Yes! I want to join my colleagues and become a member of SEIU United Workers West and agree to abide by its constitution and bylaws.

“You had highlighted that I am signing below this statement, and your email said, ‘Please note – It is mandatory to return it to me,'” Ross added. “However, I do not agree to become a member of the SEIU, nor do I apply for membership, nor do I voluntarily accept membership, nor do I agree to abide by the constitution and bylaws of the SEIU.”

The message also contained highlighted text asking him to recognize the “need for a strong union” and the belief that “everyone…should pay…to support our union’s activities”, in addition to authorizing the restraint of salary to support union dues. Ross pointed out that he did not consent to union dues being deducted from his salary and simply wanted to comply with the request to provide updated phone numbers and addresses while continuing to abstain. to join the union.

Two weeks after Ross wrote the August 31 letter, her employer “declared union membership mandatory and deducted union dues” from her salary against her wishes. This prompted him to file a complaint.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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