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Washington State Attacks Freedom Of Religion

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Seeking moral support, advice, and suggestions from ULC ministers:

I'm in the middle of a battle with my employer and a union that the employer recognizes as my fellow employees' exclusive bargaining representative. The employer recently negotiated a contract with the union and included a union security provision where all bargaining unit employees must join the union, pay a representation fee, or claim religious objector status.

I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").

Certainly I will seek legal counsel on the constitutional violations, but in regard to my religious objection, I have to tell you that the union is making religious objectors fill out a form with the name of the objector's church, the church address, and the name of the minister, rabbi, pastor, etc. Then the union has the audacity to send a letter to the objector's church to seek validation of the objector's teachings of their church which cause them to have to refrain from union membership. It disturbs me greatly that a state civil servant could be subjected to a private organization (a union) butting into personal religion, and that the state civil servant could be "terminated" for not cooperating. Those of us here at the forum appear to have rather strong personalities, but there are many people on the planet depending on folks like us to protect their religious freedom.

In the spirit of "Doing that which is right", and careful introspection of my own path, I have firmly made my decision to reject compulsory unionism for myself.

In sharing this info with you (ad nauseum I bet), I seek words of comfort, wit, wisdom, and support to recharge my batteries to keep my energy up in my fight with "Big Brother".

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheryl, underpaid overworked Washington State employee :telephone:

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Seeking moral support, advice, and suggestions from ULC ministers:

I'm in the middle of a battle with my employer and a union that the employer recognizes as my fellow employees' exclusive bargaining representative.  The employer recently negotiated a contract with the union and included a union security provision where all bargaining unit employees must join the union, pay a representation fee, or claim religious objector status.

I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").

Certainly I will seek legal counsel on the constitutional violations, but in regard to my religious objection, I have to tell you that the union is making religious objectors fill out a form with the name of the objector's church, the church address, and the name of the minister, rabbi, pastor, etc.  Then the union has the audacity to send a letter to the objector's church to seek validation of the objector's teachings of their church which cause them to have to refrain from union membership. It disturbs me greatly that a state civil servant could be subjected to a private organization (a union) butting into personal religion, and that the state civil servant could be "terminated" for not cooperating.  Those of us here at the forum appear to have rather strong personalities, but there are many people on the planet depending on folks like us to protect their religious freedom.

In the spirit of "Doing that which is right", and careful introspection of my own path, I have firmly made my decision to reject compulsory unionism for myself. 

In sharing this info with you (ad nauseum I bet), I seek words of comfort, wit, wisdom, and support to recharge my batteries to keep my energy up in my fight with "Big Brother".

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheryl, underpaid overworked Washington State employee  :telephone:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

While I think you are foolish for not simply joining the union, I agree that the unions position is unreasonable. I would submit a letter stating the basis for my objection, and leave it at that.

Does the contract between the union and the employee state a procedure for religious objection, and if so, what is that procedure. If not, then I would think you would only need to submit your objection, and you will have met the requirements of the contract.

May I ask you to PM me the union information. I would like to drop them a letter in your support. Honestly, more because I think they are making a bad PR move than because I think you are making a good decision, but, I would still like to send them a letter.

There is a valid reason for this kind of clause in a contract. A union is obliged to represent its members in the most effective manner possible, and, in a case where it is sole the sole bargaining body, it must also represent those non members for whom it bargains.

The exception for religious objection is standard boiler plate on these agreements, but it can create some ugly situations. First, there are those who use it to scam the system. They get the full benefit of union representation without the cost. This is the situation that the union is trying to address, as there is very little traditional theological justification for objection. That statement should generate some interesting counter claims.. :devil: . Then there are those who actually do hold some moral or ethical objection to membership. They are often harrassed because most don't believe the claim.

I am curious as to why you object to membership. The only thing you really succeed in doing by not joining is eliminating any voice you have in what the union sets as goals for negotiations.

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Seeking moral support, advice, and suggestions from ULC ministers:

I'm in the middle of a battle with my employer and a union that the employer recognizes as my fellow employees' exclusive bargaining representative.  The employer recently negotiated a contract with the union and included a union security provision where all bargaining unit employees must join the union, pay a representation fee, or claim religious objector status.

I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").

Certainly I will seek legal counsel on the constitutional violations, but in regard to my religious objection, I have to tell you that the union is making religious objectors fill out a form with the name of the objector's church, the church address, and the name of the minister, rabbi, pastor, etc.  Then the union has the audacity to send a letter to the objector's church to seek validation of the objector's teachings of their church which cause them to have to refrain from union membership. It disturbs me greatly that a state civil servant could be subjected to a private organization (a union) butting into personal religion, and that the state civil servant could be "terminated" for not cooperating.  Those of us here at the forum appear to have rather strong personalities, but there are many people on the planet depending on folks like us to protect their religious freedom.

In the spirit of "Doing that which is right", and careful introspection of my own path, I have firmly made my decision to reject compulsory unionism for myself. 

In sharing this info with you (ad nauseum I bet), I seek words of comfort, wit, wisdom, and support to recharge my batteries to keep my energy up in my fight with "Big Brother".

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheryl, underpaid overworked Washington State employee  :telephone:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know this is a long post; but I hope its informative.

This is a very sticky situation, and I do not know particularly how the first amendment would apply to labor law in this situation. What I do know is this: the union environment provides you protection weather you are a member or not. Its very difficult to believe that while you work for an organization, that if your fellow co-workers benefit from any negotiation they may experience due to their representation by the union (negotiation of a raise, time off, better health benefits, etc.), that 1.) you will also benefit, though you do not pay union dues or a representation fee (which is not considered membership in the union, that is actually the option to OPT OUT of union representation) and 2.) you claim religious status.

I am curious, as a fellow minister, to know what your religious beliefs are that compel you not to choose representation by a union (so I can better discuss the concern here) or prevent you from joining a union. I am aware of some Catholic nuns, brothers and priests in particular religious orders whom still seek normal employment, most of them are not allowed to join labor organizations, for that matter, they are not allowed to join many secular other organizations either (organizations such as the Red Cross, Volunteer Fire Departments [mainly as Chaplains], etc. are usually excluded). Usually (but not always, in 95% percent of all cases), the religious organization of which the employee claims status will represent the employee in labor matters (this is more than likely why the wish to have the information). Claming religious status means the religious organization STRICTLY forbids membership in a union. Also, opting out by choosing representation-fee-only or religious status will not allow you to file a grievance should the need occur. As a representation-fee-only, you still benefit from what benefits the union negotiates for and wins, as a religious exemption, the employer may choose not to adjust your pay, benefits, etc. if the union wins an increase in benefits, and the kicker would be, they would not be legally obligated to do so either.

I am not sure of the motives or rational in claming religious status, but religious status is not freedom from union/representation dues or labor-related protection. If your shop or department of employees voted and choose to have a labor representative (that then becomes a closed shop), ALL employees MUST be represented in some form or fashion (management excluded), that is what is meant by the union term “closed shop,†the shop (or place of business) is closed to everyone but those represented by a union.

In conclusion Rev Cheryl, if you are indeed an underpaid, overworked Washington State employee, it seems as if Union is the way to go.

~Rev. LLEACHII

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There is a valid reason for this kind of clause in a contract. A union is obliged to represent its members in the most effective manner possible, and, in a case where it is sole the sole bargaining body, it must also represent those non members for whom it bargains.

.. First, there are those who use it to scam the system.  They get the full benefit of union representation without the cost ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Lived with that one, I have :angry:

As an apprentice I was deemed to have the biggest gob and was thus mutualy selected by management and workers as a negotiator, it was a non-unionised workplace, btw.

On more than one occasion I got threatened with physical violence by workers if a negotiation went foul. Main exponents of said violence against my person, if asked would they be prepared to forgo the fruits of a succesfull negotiation in return for immunity against the fallout of an unsuccesfull one, always said no. They wanted immunity if things went wrong but to still enjoy the benefits if I levered a fair cut for the workers out of the boss.

Frankly such people fill me with me disgust.

I do not like unionised negotations as it happens. I think all workers should negotiate their rates individualy and run the risk of getting underpaid if they are poo negotiators or getting kicked out onto the open market if they overestimate their commercial value by too much.

Women are cronically poo pay negotiators, on the whole, which is why in non unionised companies women often get paid less than men for doing similar jobs.

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when i worked for the state of michigan,there was a clause in our contract that stated religious exemptetion could be given for those who belonged to a group or faith that traditonally held objection to union membership.out of 25,000 employees represented,only 24 people ever asked for it.they happened to be amish.the union itself was and is a waste of time and money,but that is another story.

frankly,what they are requireing is not out of line with most clauses of that type.unless they are willing to accept your reasons for not joining,i can see a fight and possible job loss.

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(2) An employee who is covered by a union security provision and who asserts a right of nonassociation based on bona fide religious tenets, or teachings of a church or religious body of which the employee is a member, shall, as a condition of employment, make payments to the employee organization, for purposes within the program of the employee organization as designated by the employee that would be in harmony with his or her individual conscience. The amount of the payments shall be equal to the periodic dues and fees uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership in the employee organization minus any included monthly premiums for insurance programs sponsored by the employee organization. The employee shall not be a member of the employee organization but is entitled to all the representation rights of a member of the employee organization.

It appears that even WITH a religous exemption you are required to pay the dues, less certain amounts.

You have two or three choices, depending on how you look at it...

Management

Move out of the state

Vote against the idiots that voted for the law in the first place.

Not attractive options, unless you can convince your employer that you are management material.

Reality bites...

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(2) An employee who is covered by a union security provision and who asserts a right of nonassociation based on bona fide religious tenets, or teachings of a church or religious body of which the employee is a member, shall, as a condition of employment, make payments to the employee organization, for purposes within the program of the employee organization as designated by the employee that would be in harmony with his or her individual conscience. The amount of the payments shall be equal to the periodic dues and fees uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership in the employee organization minus any included monthly premiums for insurance programs sponsored by the employee organization. The employee shall not be a member of the employee organization but is entitled to all the representation rights of a member of the employee organization.

It appears that even WITH a religous exemption you are required to pay the dues, less certain amounts.

You have two or three choices, depending on how you look at it...

Management

Move out of the state

Vote against the idiots that voted for the law in the first place.

Not attractive options, unless you can convince your employer that you are management material.

Reality bites...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

it's all the more interesting/ironic considering WA is among the most liberal states in the country.

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Guest bearhugs

kokigami, it is hard to receive your input graciously when you open with telling me you think I am foolish.

'nuff said

:jest: Regards from Cheryl the foolish :tongue:

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....I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").
Neither of those are objections based on religious grounds, but on political or legal reasons.

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I know this is a long post; but I hope its informative.

This is a very sticky situation, and I do not know particularly how the first amendment would apply to labor law in this situation. What I do know is this: the union environment provides you protection weather you are a member or not. Its very difficult to believe that while you work for an organization, that if your fellow co-workers benefit from any negotiation they may experience due to their representation by the union (negotiation of a raise, time off, better health benefits, etc.), that 1.) you will also benefit, though you do not pay union dues or a representation fee (which is not considered membership in the union, that is actually the option to OPT OUT of union representation) and 2.) you claim religious status.

I am curious, as a fellow minister, to know what your religious beliefs are that compel you not to choose representation by a union (so I can better discuss the concern here) or prevent you from joining a union. I am aware of some Catholic nuns, brothers and priests in particular religious orders whom still seek normal employment, most of them are not allowed to join labor organizations, for that matter, they are not allowed to join many secular other organizations either (organizations such as the Red Cross, Volunteer Fire Departments [mainly as Chaplains], etc. are usually excluded). Usually (but not always, in 95% percent of all cases), the religious organization of which the employee claims status will represent the employee in labor matters (this is more than likely why the wish to have the information). Claming religious status means the religious organization STRICTLY forbids membership in a union. Also, opting out by choosing representation-fee-only or religious status will not allow you to file a grievance should the need occur. As a representation-fee-only, you still benefit from what benefits the union negotiates for and wins, as a religious exemption, the employer may choose not to adjust your pay, benefits, etc. if the union wins an increase in benefits, and the kicker would be, they would not be legally obligated to do so either.

I am not sure of the motives or rational in claming religious status, but religious status is not freedom from union/representation dues or labor-related protection. If your shop or department of employees voted and choose to have a labor representative (that then becomes a closed shop), ALL employees MUST be represented in some form or fashion (management excluded), that is what is meant by the union term “closed shop,†the shop (or place of business) is closed to everyone but those represented by a union.

In conclusion Rev Cheryl, if you are indeed an underpaid, overworked Washington State employee, it seems as if Union is the way to go.

~Rev. LLEACHII

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you, Rev LLEACHII...

Interesting to hear Pro-Union arguments, but I did not post to engage in debate or to defend my beliefs. I was reaching out for those who may be supportive of my individual rights and decisions.

Prior to radical changes in our state, prior to union security being negotiated, I WAS the union regional chairperson, covering Eastern Washington bordering Canada, Idaho, and Oregon. I was my region's chief shop steward, the local secretary, and a duly elected union member on a review committee looking at the restructuring needs of the union. To make a long story short, the union attacked dissenters and called them the Axis of Evil, lied to bargaining unit employees, held a contract ratification vote that was severely compromised & unadvertised (only 10% of the affected employees voted cause only union supporters were notified of the voting), sold bargaining unit employees down the river for the coveted union security clause, and countless other things. I informed the managers of the union, and the union elected president when they were making choices that were putting me into a position of having to question my association with such an organization.

In my personal religious belief system, I accept those of all religions and those with no religion. I am an advocate of human rights at the individual level. Each person must walk their own path, live their own life and die their own death. I had to do serious soul searching when the union went for the union security clause. After thorough and careful reflection and consideration, I came to peace with my inner turmoil when I recognized that in my ministry, I would be a hypocrite if I continued association with an organization that was functioning so inconsistently with my conscience. I can live with my money going to charity, but I cannot accept sending it to an organization that forces association on individuals. I believe people have a right to work, feed their families, etc, which for me takes precedence over the rights to unionize in a compulsory fashion.

I do not wish to engage in philosophical, political, legal or religious debate with this posting, and I apologize to those union sympathizers/supporters who misunderstood my request. I was seeking encouragement and energy, if anyone had some to spare or share with me.

I already understand, and have been told in writing by my employer, that I am risking receiving notification that I may be terminated. So be it. Life is a journey, and if someone like an employer or union, or the forum tells me I am not wanted around anymore because of what I believe and stand for, I will move on.

Mother Earth is my church, except for those exhilarating moments when the sky is my church (on an airplane, I haven't earned my own wings as yet). My religion grows with exposure to others' perspectives and as I experience different situations. I mean no harm to anyone, or anything (except bugs who dare to land on me who usually just get a swat but if they aren't careful, they might get squashed).

ULC is the closest thing to organized religion that feels like a humanly created spiritual respite to me. I am deeply grateful to our founder and brothers and sisters who maintain and contribute to its existence.

Thanks for your input,

:smoke: Cheryl

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Guest bearhugs
when i worked for the state of michigan,there was a clause in our contract that stated religious exemptetion could be given for those who belonged to a group or faith that traditonally held objection to union membership.out of 25,000 employees represented,only 24 people ever asked for it.they happened to be amish.the union itself was and is a waste of time and money,but that is another story.

frankly,what they are requireing is not out of line with most clauses of that type.unless they are willing to accept your reasons for not joining,i can see a fight and possible job loss.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:pepsi: Guess I should finish my pepsi, get off my duff, and find a different job, eh?

:fear: Cheryl

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....I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").
Neither of those are objections based on religious grounds, but on political or legal reasons.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Semantics, dear Watson. How 'bout I just tell them my inner Goddess told me to object, and that if I disobey her, she will make me miserable and not able to sleep at night and not able to look at myself in the mirror and I will have stress related heart problems and be put on anti-depressants by my physician and then she will turn me into a lemming so that I shall have to jump off a cliff with all the other lemmings.

;) Negative energy might help me build strength too...

Cheryl

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Guest bearhugs

it's all the more interesting/ironic considering WA is among the most liberal states in the country.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is because of Seattle/King County. Eastern WA and Western WA are at odds with each other, and ever so often even discuss splitting into two distinct states...Eastern WA votes conservatively for the most part.

But we digress and risk movement to a different spot on the forum.

:) Cheryl

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kokigami, it is hard to receive your input graciously when you open with telling me you think I am foolish.

'nuff said

:jest: Regards from Cheryl the foolish  :tongue:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I felt it was only fair to give you that information. It would be duplicitous for me to offer advise, thinking your decision was foolish, and not say so. The motivation would be suspect.

I started this reply a while back, and since then you have listed some reasons for your decision. If the allegations are correct, I can understand your motives. I still can't agree, but that is not important. I would say that, if this is how you want to make the stand, I would encourage you to fight it through to the end. Chronical everything you know, and submit a copy to the union. Ask them if they really want to fight this fight.

good luck.

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Rev. Cheryl,

Thanks for the kudos. My sister, I would just like to note to you that if you wish to claim a religious status from the union, you must prepare a well-written case noting your religious reasons for claiming the exemption. If they wish the information of the ULC, list yourself as the pastor and fill out other info as necessary. While your motives seem spiritual in nature, they are not specifically because our church's doctrine specifically forbids membership in an organization, namely a labor union.

Your wish to be exempted seems to be more on the basis of issues that occurred in the union have not been the most (I'll use the word:) noble of an organized group. I'm not sure if that would legally fit the rule of opting out for religious reasons.

While I am pro-union (which is odd, because I have been upper management at some of my previous employments), what you describe as taking place within this union is very unbecoming and is a disgrace to the organized union structures I have seen in other parts of the nation. I wish you much luck; but I have never seen exemption on the basis that your religious convictions has shined light on the unbecoming actions of this union. I have only seen exemption because the religious organization strictly forbids membership in the union, such as the Amish and certain ministerial orders of Catholic Church who's members may seek secular employment.

~Rev. LLEACHII

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....I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").
Neither of those are objections based on religious grounds, but on political or legal reasons.
Semantics, dear Watson.
I am anti semantical. It's not semantic, but reality. Your objections cannot be construed as religions - as several here have tried to explain - but personal. The ULC has no prohibition against unions.
How 'bout I just tell them my inner Goddess told me to object, and that if I disobey her, she will make me miserable and not able to sleep at night and not able to look at myself in the mirror and I will have stress related heart problems and be put on anti-depressants by my physician and then she will turn me into a lemming so that I shall have to jump off a cliff with all the other lemmings.
They will laugh, and throw your case out of court.
;) Negative energy might help me build strength too...
Then stop creating the "negative energy."

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....I am claiming religious objector status, as the union security clause violates US constitutional rights, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20.2 "No one should be compelled to belong to an association").
Neither of those are objections based on religious grounds, but on political or legal reasons.
Semantics, dear Watson.
I am anti semantical. It's not semantic, but reality. Your objections cannot be construed as religions - as several here have tried to explain - but personal. The ULC has no prohibition against unions.
How 'bout I just tell them my inner Goddess told me to object, and that if I disobey her, she will make me miserable and not able to sleep at night and not able to look at myself in the mirror and I will have stress related heart problems and be put on anti-depressants by my physician and then she will turn me into a lemming so that I shall have to jump off a cliff with all the other lemmings.
They will laugh, and throw your case out of court.
;) Negative energy might help me build strength too...
Then stop creating the "negative energy."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I disagree. In order to prevail in court, she only needs to establish that ones personal religious guideposts do not, of necessity, come from or coincide with the teachings of an organization. As for ULC, we have a doctrine, do only that which is right, and each person has the authority and obligation to determine what that is. If a person finds, after due reflection, that contributing to a Union is not within the scope of what is right, then our doctrine effectively prohibits contributing.

But, I don't think it is completely unreasonable for the union to ask for an explaination. What is unreasonable is for the union to imply that the only authority for religious doctrine is someone other than the person espousing the doctrine.

Bearhugs, I am sorry that you felt offended by my first post, because I did not mean offense. I am serious concerning my offer to write a letter to the Union. Though, I doubt they will take me any more seriously than you, based upon your background with the union. They should be taking your objection more seriously.

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I disagree. In order to prevail in court, she only needs to establish that ones personal religious guideposts do not, of necessity, come from or coincide with the teachings of an organization. As for ULC, we have a doctrine, do only that which is right, and each person has the authority and obligation to determine what that is. If a person finds, after due reflection, that contributing to a Union is not within the scope of what is right,  then our doctrine effectively prohibits contributing.

But, I don't think it is completely unreasonable for the union to ask for an explaination. What is unreasonable is for the union to imply that the only authority for religious doctrine is someone other than the person espousing the doctrine.

I agree with that kokigami. In fact, would seem to be her only valid argument. Also, you are and ordained minister of this church, therefore you can (within reason) interpret what you believe that doctrine to mean.

~Rev. LLEACHII

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Problem is, this is not a contribution. It is a statutory required payment as a condition of employment with the state. The only thing gained by claiming a religious exemption is the LOSS of insurance provided by the union.

If you call that a loss, that is...

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I disagree. In order to prevail in court, she only needs to establish that ones personal religious guideposts do not, of necessity, come from or coincide with the teachings of an organization. As for ULC, we have a doctrine, do only that which is right, and each person has the authority and obligation to determine what that is. If a person finds, after due reflection, that contributing to a Union is not within the scope of what is right,  then our doctrine effectively prohibits contributing.
But she has not established anything other than her personal desire to not join a union. The "religious" part is an obvious ploy and will not succeed.
But, I don't think it is completely unreasonable for the union to ask for an explaination. What is unreasonable is for the union to imply that the only authority for religious doctrine is someone other than the person espousing the doctrine.
I don't see that as unreasonable. What I do see as unreasonable is trying to claim a whole state is attacking religious freedom by faking a religious exemption to unions.

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