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Bob Dick, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation, spoke with 1210 WPHT’s Dom Giordano about a dispute between some public employees and their union over the collection of dues.

Dick said that public employees have the option to divert their dues to a charity if they can successfully file a religious exemption.

“Under current law, teachers or other public employees can re-direct their money from a union to charity if they file what is known as religious objection. What happens is the union has to validate objection, and if they do so, then they’re free to send the equivalent of what’s really a coercive fee charged by the union, instead of giving it to the union, they can send it to the charity of their choice. But there becomes a problem because, in many cases the union will not sign off on the charity and that’s why there are a number of disputes now make their way through the courts.”

He said a problem has arisen where the unions and employees disagree on the acceptability of preferred charities.

“The law requires that the charity be mutually agreed to by both the union and public employee. You have a few cases right now where there are public employees who have chosen a charity but the union has said no and because there is no legal remedy in order to solve that problem, that’s why the Fairness Center, which is one of our partner organizations, has brought this issue to the courts.”

Dick said many of the request for opt-outs center around objections to abortion advocacy.

“You have teachers who just don’t want anything to do with the union because they either directly or indirectly support abortion efforts, and obviously that goes against their religious beliefs, so they don’t want to be sending their own money, which they worked for, to this union that’s supporting this cause that they don’t want any part of.”

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