Worker Accuses Labor Union of Religious Discrimination

Catholic worker said union forces her to support pro-abortion politicians

A Catholic woman filed a federal discrimination complaint alleging that a major labor union forced her to pay for its pro-abortion activism.

In a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Tennessee resident Dorothy Frame said that Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) has forced her to pay union dues, despite her request for a religious exemption.

"Ms. Frame is a Catholic, and she believes that she should not support a labor union that supports abortion, because abortion involves the unjustified destruction of human life," the filing says.

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After learning about the group’s support of pro-abortion initiatives and politicians, Frame requested a religious accommodation on July 25, 2019. The accommodation would stop the deduction of union dues from Frame’s paychecks from J&J Worldwide Services. In August, the union denied her request and responded by demanding evidence for her claims that membership in the union violated her religious beliefs and that the union supports pro-abortion initiatives.

Frame provided a letter from a priest "in support of her religious objection," according to the filing. The union rejected that evidence and asked Frame to provide "evidence supporting [her] conclusion that any portion of [her] Union dues supports ‘pro choice’ organizations or candidates."

LiUNA represents more than 500,000 members and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, which has voiced support for Planned Parenthood and united with the abortion provider to target Republican politicians in state races. LiUNA also donated to the pro-Democratic House Majority PAC and the pro-Hillary Clinton Priorities USA PAC, according to OpenSecrets. The union did not respond to requests for comment about the suit.

A union representative rejected Frame's follow-up requests because of his "supposedly superior religious views," the filing alleges. The union also questioned if Frame’s objection stemmed from a failed run for a leadership position in the union, according to a copy of the union’s response provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

"The Union never responded to this further proof, has not accommodated Ms. Frame, and instead continued to have dues deducted from her salary in violation of her religious beliefs," Frame’s filing stated.

Frame filed the complaint with the EEOC, the government agency "responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee" for several factors, including religion. She is being represented by the National Right to Work Foundation, which also recently helped a child actress take on the Screen Actors Guild. Foundation vice president Patrick Semmens criticized the union for forcing Frame to choose between keeping her job and violating her religious beliefs.

"Countless workers have been able to obtain religious accommodations like the one that Ms. Frame is requesting," he said. "Yet rather than simply respect her rights, Laborers Union bosses are making it necessary for her to turn to the EEOC to end this illegal religious discrimination, demonstrating once again that union officials are far too willing to violate the rights of the very workers they claim to represent just to fill their coffers with forced union dues."

National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix added that workers should not be required to pay for union activities they oppose.

"While such religious discrimination is a blatant violation of federal law, union boss demands, in this case, serve as a reminder why no worker in America should be forced to subsidize union activities they oppose, whether their opposition is religious-based or for other reasons," he said in a statement