by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2007
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — A new report shows that Ohio union members who are state employees are beginning to take advantage of a provision in their labor agreement that allows them to direct their union dues to a charity if they don’t like the union’s support for abortion. The agreement follows a lawsuit where one union member objected.
Previously, members of the various state employee unions who had objections to the unions’ pro-abortion position could direct their money to the church of their choice.
But Environmental Protection Agency employee Greg Greenwood complained about paying dues to the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association because it supports abortion. Greenwood did not attend church and, therefore, didn’t have a charity to which he could direct his mandatory dues.
He sued and won the right to have his membership dues sent to a non-church charity in a settlement with the 35,000-member union.
According to an AP report, since the Greenwood case there have been 12 state employees who have applied for an exemption to have their dues sent elsewhere.
So far nine employees saw their requests approved, one was denied, one is pending and one employee withdrew the request.
Since the Greenwood case, another union dues lawsuit involved Carol Katter — a teacher who won her case in June. A federal district court ruled that requiring her to pay dues to the National Education Association is a violation of her First Amendment Rights.
She sued to stop being forced to fund the organization because her money would be used to promote abortion.
The Ohio affiliate of the national group told the mathematics and language arts instructor she could only be exempt from paying union dues if she changed religions.
Katter indicated she was told her dues could go to a charity but OEA officials eventually told her they couldn’t disseminate her dues elsewhere because she couldn’t prove that her Catholic faith went against her membership in the union.
She filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Columbus in January over an Ohio law that prevents her from diverting her union dues somewhere else. The law only allows members of the Seventh-Day Adventist and Mennonite churches, which have historic anti-union religious views, to object to paying the dues.
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost struck down the law as a violation of the First Amendment. Forst also ruled that the State Employment Relations Board could not enforce the law.