Union bosses illegally demanded union dues, lectured a worker and her priest on Catholic teachings and sent ‘corrective church readings’
Clarksville, TN (March 25, 2022) – Former Blanchfield Army Community Hospital worker Dorothy Frame has won a settlement against International Workers Union (LIUNA) officials in a federal lawsuit accusing them of religious discrimination illegal. Frame filed her case with free assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Frame’s November 2021 complaint said LIUNA officials unlawfully discriminated against her by forcing her, in violation of her Catholic beliefs, to fund union activities through the compulsory payment of union dues. Frame voiced her religious objections to the union’s positions, but union officials repeatedly dismissed and ridiculed her requests for religious accommodation, according to her lawsuit.
Under the settlement, as a condition of dismissing the lawsuit against LIUNA, union officials must pay Frame $10,000 in damages. The settlement also requires the lawyer for LIUNA officials to send a letter of apology to Frame for the improper conduct of the union.
“I knew in my heart and in my soul that I was right,” Frame said of the successful conclusion of her case. “It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was tough; it was so tough.
Request for religious accommodation from a worker illegally snubbed by LIUNA officials
Frame first requested religious accommodation in 2019, when she sent a letter informing LIUNA officials of the conflict between her religious beliefs and the requirement that she join or pay the union.
Tennessee has a right to work law ensuring that workers in the state’s private sector cannot be required to pay dues as a condition of employment. But Fort Campbell, the location of the Blanchfield Hospital where Frame worked, is a “federal enclave” not subject to state law. Frame’s former employer, J&J Worldwide Service, maintains a closed-shop contract with LIUNA union bosses that requires employees to pay union dues or dues to keep their jobs.
Frame’s July 2019 letter also included a message from his parish priest supporting his request for religious accommodation. Federal law prohibits unions from discriminating against employees on the basis of religion and requires unions to provide accommodations to workers who object to paying dues on religious grounds.
Rather than fulfill their obligation under federal law to provide him with such housing, Frame’s complaint reported, LIUNA officials disparaged his beliefs.
Frame’s complaint said union lawyers demanded that she provide “lawful justification” for why her conflict with union activity warranted religious accommodation. A lawyer for the union also claimed in a letter, according to Frame’s complaint, that “Ms. Frame’s understanding of her faith was less than her own understanding.” of his faith.” He even closed the letter by “sending Mrs. Frame – and her priest – some remedial church readings”.
“It crushed me, it hurt me so much. Not just for them to tell me this, but to tell my priest,” Frame said of the experience. , and that actually made me more determined.”
Frame then filed a discrimination complaint against LIUNA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in December 2019. Even after EEOC proceedings and additional letters from Frame’s attorney demonstrating the conflict between the union’s activity and its faith, Frame’s complaint says, union officials have consistently refused. to accommodate his beliefs and refused to return the money they took from his paycheck after asking for an accommodation.
Ultimately, the EEOC issued Frame a “right to sue” letter leading to his federal discrimination lawsuit, filed by staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation.
“Ms. Frame believes abortion is a grave sin,” her lawsuit detailed. . Thus, she believes that any money the unions collect from her makes her an accomplice to sin and violates her religious beliefs.
Foundation President: Forced Membership Privileges Create ‘Fertile Ground’ for Discrimination
“Despite being the target of years of intimidation and discrimination by LIUNA officials, Ms. Frame refused to give up her religious beliefs and stood firm for her rights,” commented the president of the National Foundation for the Right to Work, Mark Mix. “She has now decisively prevailed against LIUNA’s unlawful attempt to force her to choose between remaining true to her beliefs and remaining employed.”
“While the National Right to Work Foundation is proud to stand with principled workers like Ms. Frame, the privilege granted by the government to Big Labor to force rank-and-file workers to support their activities creates fertile ground for such anti-worker misdeeds and abuses. “, Mix continued. “No American worker should have to pay tribute to a union they oppose simply to keep their job, whether their objections are religious or otherwise.”
The National Workplace Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory union abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees with approximately 250 cases nationwide per year.