Cleveland, Ohio (February 20, 2003) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation, a teacher of deep religious conviction filed suit against the Lorain County Joint Vocational School Teachers Association (LCTA) for refusing to honor his religious objection to supporting the union financially.
Daniel Reed, a history teacher at the Lorain County Vocational School and a member of Camden Baptist Church, objects to supporting the LCTA local union and its affiliates because they actively promote pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality positions. Foundation attorneys filed the religious discrimination suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division.
“No one should be forced to support a union and social agenda that they find morally offensive,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Teachers across the country, regardless of their faith, are being shaken down to pay for this radical agenda.”
On August 14, 2001, Reed asked LCTA officials to honor his protected rights as a religious objector. Since then, teacher union officials have refused to fully honor Reed’s request.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials may not force any employee to support financially 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 or she believes to be immoral, the law requires union officials to accommodate the employee – most often by designating a mutually acceptable charity to accept the funds.
As part of the lawsuit, Reed wants the LCTA and its affiliates to accommodate his status as a religious objector and send all of the union fees that have been illegally confiscated since August 2001 to a mutually agreed upon charity. In addition, Reed is asking for the LCTA to notify all employees of the Lorain County Vocational School of their right to file a religious objection to joining or supporting the union.
The LCTA is an affiliate of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), two of the most powerful and politically active teacher unions in the country. Many teachers object to the unions’ support for abortion, special rights for homosexuals, and other objectionable social causes. In recent months, the OEA has faced multiple findings of discrimination by the EEOC.