LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Five school bus drivers who have sought to refrain from union membership and dues have filed a lawsuit in the matter.

The bus drivers, who work for Pulaski County Special School District, filed the federal suit with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Foundation officials said in a news release that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time under the U.S. Constitution, and Arkansas' "Right to Work" law allows nonmember workers to refrain from paying union dues and fees.

The school bus drivers sent a letter to the Pulaski Association of Support Staff union to resign from membership and stop paying dues. According to the National Right to Work Foundation, union officials denied the bus drivers' requests, saying that the drivers can only resign their union membership during a 15-day "window period" in July.

The drivers also claim that the Pulaski County Special School District has continued to deduct, and the union has continued to collect, union dues from their paychecks.

The drivers' suit, which is against the union and the school district, seeks to stop union dues deductions from the drivers' paychecks and to obtain a refund of all "illegally seized" union dues, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.

Jerry Guess, superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the district has responded to several employees' requests to have their union dues payments stopped. Guess said that the district was willing to stop the dues payments if the drivers signed a form.

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