Abbotsford News file photo

Abbotsford News file photo

Abbotsford crossing guard asks to be exempt from union because of religious beliefs

B.C. Labour Relations Board dismisses application, saying church’s viewpoint wasn’t clear

An Abbotsford crossing guard has lost his bid to be exempt from union membership on the basis of religious beliefs.

Glen Fraser applied to the B.C. Labour Relations Board (LRB), asking to be removed from Teamsters Local 31 and to be allowed to donate what he was paying in monthly union dues to the Autism Support Network Society.

According to the LRB decision posted online, Fraser was required to join the union through his work as a crossing guard in the Abbotsford school district.

But the clergy of his church, Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, wrote a letter saying that paying union dues is contrary to their beliefs.

ALSO READ: Abbotsford schools rehire all crossing guards after contract changes

“It is our religious conviction that we cannot join or financially support an employee’s union. The request of Glen’s is not based on any hard feelings toward any individual or to the labour organization. Rather, it is based on principles that we have found in God’s word and as upheld by our church,” the letter stated.

But David Duncan Chesman, vice-chair of the LRB, said in his written decision that no clear background – such as Bible passages – was provided to expand upon the church’s viewpoints.

“The applicant says only that he objects to ‘linking with a trade union’ because of his ‘religious beliefs’ … As the beliefs or ‘conviction’ of the Church upon which the application relies have not been particularized or identified and as no explanation of their incompatibility with trade unionism has been provided, I am not satisfied that such beliefs are incompatible with trade unionism,” Chesman wrote.

Fraser’s application was dismissed on Friday (Jan. 29).



vhopes@abbynews.com

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