Group of PCSSD bus drivers suing district and local union
PULASKI COUNTY (KATV)--A group of Pulaski County Special School District bus drivers have filed a federal suit against the school district and a local union for violating their rights. Five Little Rock-area bus drivers filed the suit with assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation. The school bus drivers all sent a letter to the PASS union asking them to stop withholding union membership dues, the union denied this, which is why this suit was filed. "These employees came to us and said that their dues were being taken, the union wasn't recognizing their resignations and so we filed this lawsuit to stop dues from being illegally seized and handed over to the union," said Patrick Semmens, VP of Public Affairs for the National Right to Work Foundation. PASS union officials denied their request claiming that the drivers can only resign their membership during a 15-day window period in July. "One of the reasons this was filed in federal court is that federal law says employees have the right to resign from a union at anytime, you can't be required to do it in a window period, you also can't be required to file an objection through certified mail," Semmens added. Meanwhile, PCSSD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess said they're in full support of these employees. "We asked them to simply acknowledge that with signing a statement and we would quit withholding those dues, so we've actually agreed with that request and given them a way to do that," said Dr. Guess. He adds that in February, several bus drivers wrote the district a letter resigning from the union. The district then sent them a return form, as well as a form to send to the union. Only one bus driver turned in all the forms "I suspect it's really aimed more at the PASS issue, and the leadership of PASS who refuses to honor the request and we're listed simply because we're the school district withholding those dues," Dr. Guess added. Channel 7 did reach out to the PASS union, but their Executive Director, Sandra Roy, said they wouldn't comment until they're served with the suit. The suit was filed on May 12th. PCSSD is also waiting to be served.