School bus drivers at Gresham-Barlow School District voted out their union Sept. 29. The drivers are employees of giant multinational contractor First Student. Their union — Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) — was gearing up to negotiate a second contract at the time of the election. The vote to decertify was 32 to 62.
Workers earlier voted down an attempt to make dues non-mandatory. But OSEA organizing director Richard Ramirez said high workplace turnover and management support for the anti-union campaign contributed to the union loss.
“They gave anti union organizers free rein over the workplace,” Ramirez said — posting materials on the bulletin board and in some cases taking down union fliers. Managers also assigned union supporters to new job duties, Ramirez said. The anti-union National Right to Work Foundation also got involved, and helped workers file complaints against the unions.
OSEA filed objections to the election with the National Labor Relations Board — based on charges that the employer interfered with employees ability to freely choose whether or not to remain union.