Union Settles Religious Discrimination Claims with Western Pennsylvania Teacher

Facing religious discrimination charges, the Pa. State Educ. Ass’n begrudgingly agreed May 14 to honor the right of a school teacher in Armstrong, Pa., to refrain from paying dues to the union because the organization’s social advocacy violated his religious convictions. Carl C. Glock, III, a practicing Christian, objected to association with the Armstrong Educ. Ass’n and its affiliates, the PSEA, and Nat’l Educ. Ass’n, because of their support of resolutions calling for special legal protections for homosexuality, abdicating parental responsibility, and criticizing the practice of home schooling.

After filing charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n, Glock’s attorney, provided by the Nat’l Right to Work Legal Def. Fdn., helped persuade the union hierarchy to halt its discrimination by allowing Glock to donate his monthly agency fee to the W. Pa. Sch. for the Blind, rather than funding the AEA union and its affiliates.

“For far too long, union officials have ordered people of faith to shut up and pay up,” said NRTWLDF spokesman Stefan Gleason. “It’s outrageous for the union hierarchy to demand that a teacher put allegiance to the union’s radical social agenda ahead of his conscience.”

The case arose when AEA bosses would only donate a portion of Glock’s 1999-2000 dues to charity and intended to keep the rest. During the 2000-01 school year, the AEA refused to honor Glock’s status as a religious objector and confiscated his entire dues payment for the union. In response, Glock contacted NRTWLDF. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union bosses may not force any employee to financially support a union if doing so violates the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. To avoid the conflict between an employee’s faith and a requirement to pay fees to a union he believes to be immoral, the law requires union bosses to accommodate the employee ? most often by designating a mutually acceptable charity to accept the funds. [NRTWLDF 5/14/02]