Skip to comments.Driver excused from driving bus with gay-themed ad
Posted on 10/20/2006 9:34:26 PM PDT by Coleus
A city bus driver who complained about a gay-themed ad got official permission not to drive any bus that carries that ad, according to an internal memo confirmed Tuesday by Metro Transit. Transit authorities call it a reasonable accommodation to the driver's religious beliefs.
Amalgamated Transit Unit Local 1005 officials at the bus company say it condones intolerance; besides, drivers never have been excused from other buses carrying ads they found objectionable - from political candidates to pink bras. Requests for religion-based considerations are increasingly in the news, as workplace observers say more Americans bring their faiths to their jobs. A bank in Otsego, Minn., declares itself to be a Christian bank, for example. Some pharmacists want the right to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions.
Also, many Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport refuse to accept passengers who are carrying alcohol. The ad at the center of the Metro Transit flap is for Lavender, a local magazine for a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) audience. It runs periodically on 50 city buses and carries a photo of a young man with the slogan, "Unleash Your Inner Gay." The memo to dispatchers at the Nicollet garage in Minneapolis was dated Oct. 12. It listed 25 buses at that garage that carry the Lavender ad, and said not to give them "under any circumstances" to the complaining driver, identified only by employee number.
"Our diversity office determined that we could make a simple, reasonable accommodation on religious ground by not assigning her (the driver) to one of the 25 buses - out of 150 - at the Nicollet garage," Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said. "The decision has nothing to do with the content of the advertisement," he said. "It has everything to do with the employee's religious beliefs." Lavender CEO Stephen Rocheford was poised "to examine all our options" if Metro Transit did try to pull the ad, he said.
Rocheford also believed the fuss is unfair because he chose an innocuous image. "To us it's just a branding campaign," he said. "I wasn't trying to stick anything in people's faces." Gibbons has no slippery-slope worries. Future requests will follow the same civil-rights law applied in this case, which says employers must accommodate an employee's religious beliefs unless it brings "undue business hardship," he said. Michelle Sommers, Local 1005 president, isn't so sure.
"Our union tries to represent all diversity - whether it be religion, cultural, race, sexual orientation, any of that," she said. "And if you start saying this or that ad is inappropriate, you're offending other people, and that can create a difficult environment for people to work in. "We have Muslim employees," she said. "Now if there's an ad for alcohol on the side of a bus, should Muslim employees be allowed to not drive that bus? And is the next step that mechanics don't have to work on the bus?"
The controversy echoes a still-unresolved issue at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where many Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to drive passengers who are carrying alcohol. Driving a bus doesn't mean you endorse the ads that cover it, Sommers said. "The company sells ads to make money, and we need that," said Sommers. "But the union does not agree with the decision to allow drivers to pick which bus they drive based on an advertisement."
QUESTION: WHY would the Union be AGAINST this worker? WHY would the Union be against giving MORE power and freedom of choice to its members????? Does not make sense....
Unions don't represent the people anymore. They represent themselves. $$$$$
at least it wasnt an ad for the Film Actors Guild (FAG)
Some saltly Christians who understand that if you don't shine some light, what are you good for, except to be cast down and trampled underfoot. Trying to please the wicked is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
IMHO, she shouldn't be a public transit driver if this kind of thing is going to come up. There are other occupations where she can make use of her skills and not become a particular burden to the employer. This is opening a gaping maw for objections over ads. Sets a bad precedent, imho.
Echoes perhaps, but I'm not so sure. Taxis are not public transit, nor are the drivers gov't employees. Often the vehicles are leased or owned by the driver. Taxi drivers, for a variety of reasons (including personal safety) would already have greater autonomy regarding what fares they take and what they leave for the competition.
Is that a metaphor for projectile vomiting?
Yet those very same muslim drivers put alcohol in their gas tanks when they fill up with fuel.
"gay cusine", An appetite suppresant?
Union leaders are Marxists and cultural nihilists first, union leaders second.
In a word, recruitment.
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