BOSTON (AP) — Anti-union groups are hailing a religious discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court by a Muslim electrician against a union and Boston College.
Ardeshir Ansari filed the suit last month after he informed the school and the Service Employees International Union 32BJ District 615 last fall that his religious beliefs conflicted with his union membership, according to The Boston Globe.
Ansari, a Muslim electrician, said he filed the lawsuit after his request for his union dues to be diverted to a charity was ignored.
The union said it took them a while to process Ansari’s request but they had a check to his charity in the works when they received his lawyer’s intent to sue.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in Virginia is representing Ansari and the organization said its mission is to “challenge forced unionism” in states like Massachusetts that require all workers to pay fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining done on their behalf.
The nonprofit was also involved in a 2018 Supreme Court decision that made it illegal for public-sector unions to charge fees to workers who choose not to be union members.
Union officials said that the organization has not faced a religious objection in years.
“We go above and beyond to make sure our members’ and all workers’ rights are respected — including those granted to religious objectors,” union spokesman Eugenio Villasante told the Globe.
Villasante added that the nonprofit representing Ansari “is pushing their antediluvian, anti-worker agenda at all cost at a time when Americans keep demanding stronger laws to protect their right to join together in unions.”
Boston College declined to comment on the case but said it is disappointed the foundation involved the school in the dispute.