Union-Abused Teachers Testify At Congressional Hearings

Two Ohio teachers at the center of a national religious discrimination case involving the National Education Association (NEA) teacher union testified before the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee regarding the need to end forced unionism.

“The teachers’ testimony exposed the harassment that many employees face every day when laboring under compulsory unionism,” said Mark Mix, Executive Vice President of the National Right to Work Committee. “The only way to help workers suffering under compulsory unionism is to make union membership 100 percent voluntary.”

The Subcommittee hearings come on the heels of a nationally publicized determination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that the NEA union is systematically discriminating against religious objectors by stonewalling objections. The teacher union forces objectors to undergo extensive interrogation on an annual basis before honoring their right to divert dues away from union officials on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Dennis Robey, an Ohio teacher, brought charges against the NEA and its local affiliates after they refused to honor his religious objection to supporting the union because it promotes pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality positions and constantly attempts to interfere with parental rights.

Kathleen Klamut, a practicing Christian, objects to having her money used to support the union’s pro-abortion agenda. Last Fall, when she began working as a psychologist in the Ravenna City Schools, Klamut asked to have her dues re-directed to charity ? her right under the law. When the NEA’s local affiliate refused to accommodate her, Klamut contacted the National Right to Work Foundation and filed charges with the EEOC against the teacher union. Since then Klamut has been informed that the union hierarchy is planning to take legal action against her.

“Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. Employees across the country, regardless of their faith, are being shaken down to pay for this radical agenda,” stated Mix. “If Congress wants to solve this problem, they must pass legislation that ends compulsory unionism.”

Congress has a bill before it, the National Right to Work Act (H.R. 1109), that would eliminate the federal authorization for forced union dues affecting 7.8 million workers across the country. The National Right to Work Act enjoys support from nearly 80 percent of the American public and a majority of the members of the full House Education and Workforce Committee chaired by Congressman John Boehner. At the moment, Chairman Boehner has yet to schedule a hearing or a vote on the bill. [NRTWC, 6/26/02]