Southwest Airlines was ordered by a federal court on Monday to compensate a former employee terminated for objecting to her union’s politically driven activism.
A flight attendant, Charlene Carter, was terminated by Southwest in 2017 following a post of a pro-life message that called for her union’s president to be recalled. The court ruled that not only must Carter be reinstated in her previous role with the airline, but that the carrier pay the maximum possible punitive damages to her.
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“Bags fly free with Southwest,” U.S. district judge Brantley Starr wrote in the ruling as reported by The Washington Free Beacon. “But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case.”
Carter was writing in protest, voicing her objection to the Transportation Workers Union Local 556, an organization to which she was paying dues, conducting political activity, and even using union funding from employee dues, to send members to the radical-leftist anti-Trump Women’s March in Washington, D.C., that followed the inauguration of former President Donald Trump.
The National Right to Work Foundation defended Carter in court. President Mark Mix of the advocacy organization said, “Southwest and TWU union officials made Ms. Carter pay an unconscionable price just because she decided to speak out against the political activities of union officials in accordance with her deeply held religious beliefs,”
“Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs,” Carter told Fox Business Friday. “I am so humbled and thankful for today’s decision and for everyone who’s supported me these past five years, including the National Right to Work Foundation.”
“This long overdue verdict vindicates Ms. Carter’s fundamental right to dissent from the causes and ideas that TWU union officials – who claim to ‘represent’ Southwest flight attendants – support while forcing workers to bankroll their activities,” Mix wrote in a statement.
Adding, “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.”