Workers whose religious beliefs prohibit them from joining a union or paying dues that fund political, social, or ideological activities with which they disagree should not be forced to violate those beliefs.

Fortunately, religious objectors have available statutory choices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Supreme Court's Beck decision to redress their grievances.

The choice of which statute to use is up to the discretion of the individual, who must weigh his or her individual circumstances to assess the best alternatives available. This should be done, of course, in consultation with legal counsel.

But one of the most important points to bear in mind is that the protections afforded employees' religious beliefs are not as broad under Section 19 of the NLRA as they are under Title VII. Under section 19 only employees who are members of "bona fide" religions which have "historically held conscientious objections" are allowed any recourse from joining and/or paying their dues to a union.

By contrast, Title VII protects "all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief" regardless of membership in a religion, body or sect. Thus, employees with sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from joining a union or paying dues or fees could be relieved under Title VII, even if they were not members of an organized religious group that opposes unions.90