Bus drivers appeal NLRB settlement

Michael P. Tremoglie Jul. 9, 2012, 10:43am

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - A group of Lindenhurst, N.Y., school bus drivers on Friday appealed a National Labor Relations Board regional office's proposed settlement of a federal charge filed against a local Teamster union.

They object to the proposed settlement because, they say, it does not require Local 1205 union officials to provide substantial proof that the financial disclosure statements provided to the workers are independently audited.

A Baumann & Sons Bus Company driver originally filed a complaint in late 2011 with the NLRB regional office in Brooklyn, on behalf of herself and at least four of her coworkers. They alleged Teamsters Local Union 1205 officials refused to provide adequate financial information as required by federal law.

The workers rejected full dues-paying union membership. But because New York does not have a right-to-work law, the nonunion workers must pay that part of union fees related to collective bargaining. They cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union activities like political activism, lobbying and member-only events. Unions are required to provide an independently audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures.

The bus drivers won a federal settlement before the NLRB regional office requiring Local 1205 union officials to provide adequate disclosure and post notices in the workplace informing workers of their rights. Additionally, the notices the settlement requires will be posted during the summer months when the school district's bus drivers do not work.

"The regional NLRB office is attempting to let Teamster Local 1205 union bosses off the hook by posting the notice when no one is looking and not forcing Teamster bosses to fully comply with the law," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which provided free legal assistance to the drivers.

"Ultimately, the best way to protect the rights of workers in the Empire State is for New York to pass a Right to Work law ending union officials' power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees and making union membership strictly voluntary."

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