European court upholds Romanian court’s rejection of dissident priests’ trade union
July 11, 2013
In an 11-6 decision praised by religious-liberty advocates, the European Court of Human Rights has upheld the right of a Romanian court to deny trade union status to 32 dissident Orthodox priests who sought to form their union against the wishes of their archbishop. Trade union status would have permitted the priests to go on strike. “Respect for the autonomy of religious communities recognized by the State implies, in particular, that the State should accept the right of such communities to react, in accordance with their own rules and interests, to any dissident movements emerging within them that might pose a threat to their cohesion, image or unity,” the court ruled. The Romanian court’s “refusal of the applicant union’s registration for failure to comply with the requirement of obtaining the archbishop’s permission was a direct consequence of the right of the religious community concerned to make its own organizational arrangements and to operate in accordance with the provisions of its statute,” the European court ruling continued.
- Refusal to register a trade union for priests on account of the autonomy of religious communities is not unreasonable (European Court of Human Rights)
- European Court of Human Rights Protects Church Autonomy, Allowing Rejection of Priests' Trade Union (Religion Clause)
- European Court of Human Rights: Religious Autonomy Trumps Right to Unionize (Becket Fund for Religious Liberty)