Regular [email protected] readers may remember the case of Jeffrey Reed, a Michigan employee fighting to end religious discrimination in his workplace. With free legal assistance from Right to Work attorneys, Reed is asking the United States Supreme Court to review a United Auto Workers (UAW) union policy that forces religious objectors to pay more union dues than workers who object to union activities on secular grounds.
Foundation litigators recently responded to the UAW’s final arguments opposing the Supreme Court granting certiorari and hearing Reed’s case. The Foundation’s brief notes that UAW officials forced Reed to pay an additional $100 premium and 22 percent more dues than workers who object to union activities on secular grounds. UAW members and secular objectors are allowed to pay an amount less than full dues if they wish to withdraw their financial support from the UAW’s political activities. As a religious objector, however, Reed is forced to redirect the dollar equivalent of full union membership dues to a third party charity as a condition of his continued employment.
Foundation attorneys also argue that Reed should not have to be disciplined or fired for failing to pay additional dues for the UAW’s policy to constitute religious discrimination. Because this has serious implications for religious objectors in workplaces across America, several organizations have filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the Foundation’s petition, including a joint brief from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. The Foundation’s original petition for a writ of certiorari can be found here, the UAW’s response here, and the Foundation’s final reply brief here.
Although the Supreme Court grants cert to only a few cases each year, Right to Work attorneys are hopeful that the Justices will take up this case to clarify a previously muddled body of law. We anticipate receiving final word on the Court’s decision as soon as early April.