Exemption from Labor Union Membership
Those with religious objections to labor union membership have the right not to join the union. This right is protected by Federal law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, known as Title VII, requires both employers and labor unions to provide “reasonable accommodation” for the religious beliefs and practices of employees. The compromise long established is that religious objectors shall pay an equivalent of the union dues to a charity.
If the collective bargaining agreement identifies a list of non-union sponsored charities, the religious objector must select one of these charities, unless they have a religious objection. In that case, the objector has every right to choose an alternate. If the collective bargaining agreement does not list recommended charities, the objector can support a charity of their own choosing. However, the selection should not be a religiously affiliated charity. This sends the wrong message – that we avoid paying union dues in order to gain some financial advantage for religious institutions.
The union will require that the religious objector show proof, and provide written documentation. The objector should not be required to pay in a lump sum up front, or more frequently than dues are commonly deducted from union members.
Many large employers have charitable deduction programs for organizations like United Way. The religious objector may choose to participate in such a program, or not. There is no obligation.
The materials below will assist you in obtaining accommodation for your religious objection to joining a labor union.
- Certified Religious Accommodation Request. This form is to be used to request that union member dues be applied to a non-profit, non-religious organziation in lieu of paying member dues to the union.
- Sample Letter: for Pastor Regarding Union Dues Exemption
- Sample Letter: New Member Requesting Union Dues Exemption
- Sample Letter: Current Union Member Requesting Union Dues Exemption
- Sample Letter: Union Dues Exemption