VANCOUVER, WA – Who would obstruct the fight against sex trafficking of children? The Vancouver Education Association comes to mind. The teachers union, a local chapter of the Washington Education Association and National Education Association, has refused to allow a teacher to send her union dues to
Shared Hope International, a charity working to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery of women and children.
Federal law states that employees who object to union membership on the basis of religious belief can divert their dues to a charity in order to accommodate their religious objection.
Susan Wiggs, a teacher in the Vancouver School District, has been attempting to do just that. Susan found the union’s stand on various social policies to be in conflict with her personal beliefs. In August of 2005, she requested permission from the union to send her dues to Shared Hope.
Amazingly, the Vancouver Education Association executive director refused, saying the charity was “not acceptable.” Susan then provided a letter from Shared Hope documenting the organization’s non-profit status. The union still refused.
It seems this isn’t the first time the VEA had violated a teacher’s civil rights. Several years ago the union settled a case brought by another teacher in federal court. Part of the settlement included a religious objector policy, which states: “the goal is to respect the objector’s choice of charities, so long as the designated recipient is lawful and charitable.”
The union recently offered to send Susan’s dues to a local crisis pregnancy center…but still refuses to accommodate her choice of a charity.
The mission of the Vancouver Education Association is “the attainment of a quality education of the children they serve.” You’d think rescuing kids from sexual slavery would qualify.
But that’s “not acceptable.”
Additional information can be found here: Washington Teachers Union Refuses to Support Anti-Sex-Trafficking Group.
Michael Reitz is the Director of the Labor Policy Center at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Reprinted with permission.