GRESHAM, Ore. — A group of school bus drivers won a federal settlement, including back pay, from a local union.
The settlement stems from a federal charge that six drivers filed with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Seattle with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
The drivers said that American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 6732 union officials demanded that they join the union and pay full union dues or face discharge.
Oregon does not have laws that make union affiliation completely voluntary, as some other states do, so the bus drivers can be required to pay part of forced union dues to keep their jobs. However, according to the National Right to Work Foundation, the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership, and nonmember workers cannot be required to pay union dues or fees spent for union political activities and members-only events.
AFT Local 6732 officials allegedly confiscated full union dues from the drivers' paychecks without informing the workers of their right to refrain from formal union membership. Union officials allegedly continued to confiscate full union dues both from drivers who refused to join the union and from drivers who joined the union with objections because they thought they had no choice.
After the six drivers represented by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed the federal charge, union officials settled the case and also agreed to refund back pay to four other drivers.
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