Ohio Teachers' Union Agrees to Respect Religious Rights of Teachers, After Long Delay, NEA Affiliate Agrees to Redirect Dues to Charity

by Jim Brown and Jody Brown

(AgapePress) - The National Education Association has once again been ordered to accommodate employees who have religious objections to union affiliation.

After learning that the Ohio Education Association (OEA) had a pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agenda, Donna Barnes and Frances Phillips made known their objections to supporting such causes. The two Gallia County Public Schools teachers contacted the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which immediately filed charges against the OEA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Right to Work's director of legal information, Dan Cronin, says the union has now been forced to respect the rights of the religious objectors and have their dues deferred to charity. Cronin says it is difficult to get through to unions on this issue.

"The big unions the NEA being probably the most obstinate of them continue to hold on," he says. [They] think if they don't give in [and] if they give people a hard time, maybe that will scare people away or wear them down. But as more people know what their rights are, more people are coming forward and they're not being pressured. It's really a testament to their own faith and courage."

Barnes' and Phillips' case was filed in 1999. According to Cronin, there are two reasons why it took the OEA so long to accommodate its teachers.

"First, the NEA does not have a lot of respect for people of faith," Cronin explains. "They will try to stonewall them and dance around them and not really take this seriously until we step in and are able to get the government to act."

He says the second reason is that government works slowly. When charges are filed, he says, it just takes time for the EEOC to investigate. "So while the wheels of justice turn, sometimes they do turn slowly," Cronin says.

Stefan Gleason, vice president of National Right to Work, says it is unfortunate that this case is not an isolated incident. "No one should be forced to support financially an agenda they find morally objectionable," he says. "Teachers across the country, regardless of their faith, are being shaken down to pay for this radical agenda."

Cronin says his organization has never lost one of these cases, yet the NEA still continues to pressure and harass employees who oppose their social agenda. The two teachers were given free legal representation by Cronin's organization.

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