EEOC: California Union Engaged in Religious Discrimination

On Jan. 4, the Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n found reason to believe the Cal. Faculty Ass’n discriminated against Cal.  State Univ. Prof. Charles Baird by  refusing to accommodate his sincere religious objections to joining or paying compulsory agency fees  to the union. The EEOC judged the CFA’s actions to be in direct violation of Title VII of the  1964 Civil Right Act after hearing arguments from attorneys with the Nat’l Right to Work Legal  Def. Fdn. “This ruling reaffirms that Big Labor cannot trample on someone’s religious freedom,” said Stefan Gleason, NRTWLDF vice president. “The CFA claims to stand up for  the rights of employees, but this case shows that it only wants to stand for forced unionism.”

NRTWLDF attorneys first filed the religious discrimination charges with the EEOC on Nov. 6, 2000, after the CFA refused to honor Prof. Baird’s objection to supporting the union on the grounds that it violated his religious beliefs. As a Roman Catholic, Baird objects to union  affiliation on the grounds, among others, that he would be supporting an organization that has promoted conflict and used coercion to achieve its goals.

“Dr. Baird’s case shows that Big Labor believes paying tribute to a union is more important than paying tribute to your faith,” stated Gleason. “The indifference union operatives have shown to honest men like Professor Baird is exactly why we need to protect  every American’s right to free association.”

Under Title VII, unions must accommodate sincere religious objectors by, at least, allowing them to make charitable contributions in lieu of paying union fees. Unless the CFA remedies its lawbreaking and discriminatory behavior, EEOC has ordered the case  will be handed over to the courts for enforcement. [NRTWLDF 01/04/02]