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Bus drivers receive small federal settlement

Six school bus drivers with First Student Inc. in the Gresham-Barlow School District have received a federal settlement totaling $53 from Oregon School Employees Association.

The settlement stems from a federal charge the six drivers filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Office in Seattle.

With legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the drivers claimed they should not have been forced to pay full dues to the Oregon School Employees union. The drivers alleged union officials confiscated full union dues from the drivers’ paychecks without informing the workers of their right to refrain from formal union membership.

They alleged union officials continued to confiscate full union dues from drivers who refused to join the union and drivers who joined the union with objections because they thought they had no choice.

Oregon’s union affiliation is voluntary, but the bus drivers can still be required to pay part of union dues as non-members for collective bargaining, as First Student joined the union in 2010.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership, and non-member workers cannot be required to pay union dues or fees spent for union political activities and member-only events.

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