Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
By Betty Lawrence
Coldwater teachers win lawsuit over union dues
  Two Coldwater teachers can redirect their mandatory National Education Association (NEA) union dues to the Make-a-Wish Foundation after settling a lawsuit over what the union supports.
Geralyn "Geri" Buening, a fourth-grade teacher, and Tessy Huwer, a middle school intervention specialist, did not want to pay the mandatory dues "to support a union involved in activities they considered immoral," reads a news release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the teachers.
Buening and Huwer, both Catholics, object to the NEA's "position on abortion" and "special rights for homosexuals," says the release. The NEA has said it supports the right of reproductive freedom and is neither pro choice nor pro life.
"No employee can be forced to fund a union engaging in activities that offend their religious convictions," reads the news release.
According to Will Collins, deputy director of communications for the foundation, the two teachers' union dues automatically will be redirected to the Make-a-Wish organization as long as their religious affiliation does not change.
Although the settlement has been made with the national organization, the teachers are still trying to reach a settlement with the Ohio Educators Association (OEA) and local union affiliates, Collins said. They also pay dues to both of these organizations.
"The settlement was with national only, not Ohio or local affiliates," Collins said.
Other teachers can follow suit, he says, by contacting the Ohio Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"It's really pretty simple, just file a complaint with them," Collins said.
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