An American flight attendant fired five years ago for expressing pro-life views has won a $5.1 million-dollar ($7.3 mil AUD) payout for unfair dismissal.
Charlene Carter was fired in 2017 after challenging the Transportation Union’s use of compulsory employee fees to fund abortion activism.
Although Carter left the union in 2013, a 1950s provision in the Federal Railway Labor Act required Carter to keep paying into the Union or face unemployment.
Carter was dismissed one week after meeting with Southwest’s officials allegedly because of concerns expressed to then Union president Audrey Stone through Facebook.
The flight attendant with 20 years of employment under her belt, sent numerous messages to Stone that contained information about abortion and its consequences.
In one message challenging the union’s use of funds to support ‘20 to 30 other flight attendants’ participation in the 2017 pro-abortion, anti-Trump women’s march, Carter wrote: “This is what you supported during your paid leave with others at the Women’s March in D.C.”
Carter added, “you truly are despicable in so many ways.” Carter then told the unresponsive former union president, “she would be voted out of office.”
Lawyers for the flight attendant, a pro-life Christian, argued that the Southwest Airlines employee lost her job because of her religious views, which consider the violent removal of life from the womb abhorrent.
In response, court documents sourced by the Associated Press suggest the defence counterargued that Carter was fired for breaching Southwest’s code of conduct.
According to the AP, Southwest Airlines fired the veteran flight attendant because ‘posts on her Facebook page’ were considered to be ‘highly offensive,’ and ‘her private messages to Stone were [viewed as] harassment.’
Should the court ruling hold after a pending appeal, the outcome awards Carter with ‘$4.15 million in backpay’ from Southwest, as well as compensation for ‘pain and suffering.’ In addition, ‘the Union will have to pay $1.5 million.’
Responding to the verdict by jury, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix, said: “No American worker should have to fear termination, intimidation, or any other reprisal merely for speaking out against having their own money spent, purportedly in their name, to promote an agenda they find abhorrent.”
President Mix applauded the decision, adding: “There ultimately should be no place in American labor law for compelling workers to fund a private organization that violates their core beliefs.”
Unsurprisingly, major legacy media outlets gave the news a negative spin, painting the outcome as a win for anti-women extremists, not another big win for freedom of speech, and yet-to-be-born children.
Another leftist “no-no”, Carter’s case also brings into question the usefulness of unions.
Who are unions actually representing, and what are they doing with the fees forcibly paid to them?
The biased political manoeuvring in regards to Carter’s dismissal is a bad look for the union movement.
Instead of listening to the concerns of transportation employees, the former Transportation Union’s president seems to have sought to work against an employee.
Instead of representing the interests of all employees, events suggest the union sought out an employee’s dismissal on the basis of dissent.
Worst of all, the events appear as though Audrey Stone conspired against Carter because Stone didn’t like Carter’s religious or political views.
NRTWC were right to conclude that “far more is needed to deter similar Big Labor abuses in the future.”