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     NEA and the LAW

The federal courts have frequently had to protect the First Amendment rights of workers who did not want their forced union dues paying for political views they opposed. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has almost always decided in favor of the First Amendment rights of individuals who did not want to be compelled to support views they opposed:

bulletAbood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) The Supreme Court ruled that compulsory dues for political activities violated the First Amendment rights of 600 teachers who opposed being forced to pay for those activities. The Court ruled that it was illegal to withhold forced dues from dissenters beyond the cost of collective bargaining.
bulletEllis v. Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, (1984) The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that union use of forced dues for purposes other than collective bargaining was illegal under the Railway Labor Act. The decision held that the union "cannot be allowed to commit dissenters' funds to improper uses -- even temporarily."
bulletChicago Teachers Union v. Hudson (1986) The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of extensive rights in challenging compulsive dues withheld from teachers who refused to join a union. The Supreme Court found that teachers were denied their rights under the First Amendment.
bulletCommunications Workers of America v. Beck (1988) The Supreme Court held that workers covered by the National Labor Relations Act can withhold compulsory dues from the union with the exception of the documented costsof collective bargaining.
bulletLehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association (1991) The Supreme Court provided a concrete three-prong test, based on the First Amendment, with which to judge whether union activities may be paid for with forced dues.

School District Capitulates to Teacher Regarding Union Dues

July 9, 2002

Placentia, CA - The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District finally agreed to allow one of its teachers to have all of his union dues diverted to three charities instead of the California Teachers Association. Initially, the school district refused to accommodate his sincere convictions against supporting the teacher's union. However, after receiving a demand letter from the Pacific Justice Institute, the union gave in to the teacher's request.

Section 701J of Title VII requires that employers accommodate an employee's religious conviction against paying union dues by allowing them to divert the dues to a charity. "I truly believe it was the demand letter, which PJI sent to my teacher's union leadership, which finally convinced them I would not back down," said the teacher. Specifically, the teacher had objections to his personal funds being sent to the NEA/CTA which reportedly espoused differing views on issues such as life, family and marriage.

"We salute the courage of this teacher to stand up to his union because of his religious convictions. We look forward to continuing our work to represent many more just like him in the days ahead," said Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute.

The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.

P.O. Box 4366, Citrus Heights, CA 95611
Phone (916) 857-6900 Fax (916) 857-6902 www.pacificjustice.org

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