Worker at Fort Campbell sues union over religious beliefs

Published 5:39 am Saturday, November 27, 2021

A hospital custodian at the Fort Campbell Army post has filed a lawsuit against her union arguing she shouldn’t have to pay dues because of her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit was filed by Dorothy Frame, who works at Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on the Kentucky-Tennessee border as an employee for a J&J Worldwide, a services company. The company has a contract with the Laborers’ International Union, according to the federal lawsuit.

Frame argued in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Nashville that her religious beliefs are being violated because “her opposition to the union’s stance on abortion,” according to a media release from the legal firm representing Frame.

“She believes joining or financially supporting the unions would make her complicit in that sin because she believes that the unions support and promote abortion,” said the release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which battles unionization efforts.

The legal group was involved in a 2018 Supreme Court decision that said federal workers can’t be forced to pay dues to a union that represents them in collective bargaining.

Frame’s suit accused the union of religious discrimination. She sent a letter to the union in 2019 informing the union of her stance, the lawsuit said.

Frame is not currently paying dues to the union, according to the lawsuit. Those payments stopped in Nov. 2019, but the two sides remained locked in a dispute.

Lawyers for the union argued that Frame failed to demonstrate how the union supports abortion, according to the lawsuit. An attorney for union was not listed in the federal court records Friday.

Frame is asking the court to declare she has a right to the religious accommodation and for the union to return the dues she has paid. She is also asking for “damages for emotional pain, suffering, and mental anguish.”