Lynnwood, WA (January 27, 2006) – To avoid costly and embarrassing federal court litigation for religious discrimination, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3035 union officials begrudgingly agreed to honor the right of a City of Lynwood employee to have his monthly union fees re-directed to charity because supporting the union violates his sincere religious convictions. With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Paul Coffelt, a civil engineer with the City of Lynwood, filed religious discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in August, 2005, against the AFSCME union and the city for forcing him to pay dues to the union to keep his job. As a Mormon, Coffelt finds that the manner in which the union deals with his employer is inconsistent with his religious beliefs. Coffelt filed the religious discrimination charges because, after communicating his objection to the collection of forced dues to the union and the city in February, 2005, AFSCME union officials and his employer failed to provide him with proper accommodation. The settlement, which was recently brokered by the EEOC, confirms Coffelt’s right to re-direct all future forced union dues to a mutually agreed-upon charity. In addition, the estimated $700 in AFSCME forced union dues that were deducted from Coffelt’s paychecks since the date of his objection will also be forwarded to charity. “It’s outrageous for union bosses to demand that a government employee put allegiance to a radical union hierarchy ahead of his religious faith,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This settlement highlights AFSCME union officials’ general lack of respect for independent-minded workers.” Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials may not force any employee to financially support a union if doing so violates the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. To avoid the conflict between an employee’s faith and a requirement to pay fees to a union he or she believes to be immoral, the law requires union officials to accommodate the employee – most often by designating a mutually acceptable charity to accept the funds. Coffelt has chosen to re-direct his forced union dues to the United Way of Snohomish County.