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Diversity, Tolerance, and Human Rights: The Future of Labor Unions and the Union Dues Dispute

67 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2004  

Harry G. Hutchison

Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford; Regent University - School of Law


Plainly human cultural and moral identity may be composed of many things, including religion. The Union dues dispute implicates this conception of human identity. In addition, "many political theorists appear to be most comfortable in supposing that identity is so very complex and changing that none of the various components can be said to dominate." If individuals or groups accept this scheme, and more particularly, any "religion that accepts its place in such a scheme - democratically abstaining from any undue claims to authority - has already been transformed by liberalism" and by the presumed universality for which it stands. Those who accept this compromise jeopardize both authentic moral and cultural identity. Individuals, workers, and others, animated by the claims of defiant identity risk their integrity if they engage in compelled association with, or support of, compulsory speech by majoritarian unions which derive their authority from government mandates in the form of the NLRA. Minimal accommodation, lack of accountability by unions, intrusive questionnaires and other barriers to relief, all constrain the ability of workers to manifest their beliefs free from interference and coercion in contravention of available international human rights norms. Such interference inevitably contributes to coerced homogeneity while concurrently impinging on the First Amendment interest of workers. On the other hand, to the extent that courts and legislators accept international norms, including a robust conception of freedom of conscience and religious liberty, they protect the most marginalized among us while vindicating a principled conception of equality.

Keywords: Labor Unions, Union Dues, International Human Rights

JEL Classification: J50, J53, K31, K33

Suggested Citation

Hutchison, Harry G., Diversity, Tolerance, and Human Rights: The Future of Labor Unions and the Union Dues Dispute. Wayne Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 1, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Harry Hutchison (Contact Author)

Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy at Oxford

Belsyre Court, 57 Woodstock Road
Oxford 0X2 6HJ
United Kingdom

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States

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