Can a Catholic refuse union dues?

Ohio law lets people refuse union dues, but only if they belong to denominations that have historically and consistently refused to recognize labor unions–and the law only recognizes Seventh-day Adventists and Mennonites in that category. But a Catholic teacher is filing suit against that law because she is not being permitted to claim the religious exemption. She doesn’t want her dues going to support abortion. Will the state Catholic conference take a position …?

5 thoughts on “Can a Catholic refuse union dues?

  1. Teachers unions can and do advocate for abortion in ways that get around that part about political causes.

    The right to work is fundamental, regardless of this issue, however. No person should be forced to join or support a private organization against their will — that was the principle for which Thoreau once spent a night in jail.

    And her point is quite specific, that the state law gives preference to some religions over others. There is precedent in her favor on this point.

  2. Mike, the problem with the “opting out” of political stuff is that it’s one of the best-kept secrets of unions. Teachers, for instance, are never told of this option and can face the uglier side of office politics if they inquire about it at work.

    In California, where I used to work, many even oppose parental consent laws for abortions on minors, which the California Teacher’s Association vehemently opposed. The union reps at my school towed the union line on pretty much everything. I was lucky enough to work with people who did not usually allow their political feelings to interfere with their professionalism, but my situation was extremely rare.

    I would have preferred not to join CTA at all, but whether I did or not, dues were taken out of my wages, so I was basically forced to join so that I could at least have a say in how those were used.

    The fact is, many of these big unions are just as good at bullying the little guy as the folks from whom they say they are protecting us.

    Unfortunately for Catholic teachers in California, a measure requiring unions to ask their members’ permission before using their dues for political purposes was defeated by voters. This is due in part, I have no doubt, to heavy advertising against this measure by the unions. Guess where they got the money?

  3. Christina! I didn’t know you were blogging. I recognize that wedding photo. (And then saw the bit about Austin).

    See also Christina’s post on the subject of union dues here.

  4. Good article in the WSJ today on the right to work, and the lack of that right in some states. This is somewhat beside the point of this post, but in general, the states which require joining unions, or require workers to pay dues even if they don’t join, are killing their own economies. In the auto industry, for one example, right to work states are gaining jobs and non-right-to-work states are not.

    But the issue won’t go away now, because it’s a pet of the new Democratic majority. Look even for possible federal laws against right to work. Based of course on the same kind of economic nonsense which moves people to want a mandated minimum wage.

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