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Topeka Bus Workers Urge School Board to Respect Their Right to Form a Union

LU696 Topeka School Bus

Drivers and Monitors Sign Cards with Teamsters, Demand Collective Bargaining Rights

Press Contact: Matt McQuaid Phone: (202) 624-6877 Email:

(TOPEKA, Kan.) – Bus drivers and monitors at Topeka Unified School District 501 turned out to Thursday’s school board meeting to demand the board members recognize their right to form a union.

“Topeka bus workers deserve the right to form a union and collectively bargain for fair wages, safe working conditions, and better benefits,” said Matt Hall, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 696. “These workers are simply asking for the same rights as workers in the City of Topeka and Shawnee County. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to make the case to the school board about why Topeka bus workers should be able to decide on union representation—and we hope the school board acts swiftly in granting them that right.”

The majority of workers in the unit have signed cards seeking representation by Teamsters Local 696. Under the Kansas Public Employer-Employee Relations Act, municipal school boards determine whether or not their district employees have collective bargaining rights.

“We want to unionize so our voices can be amplified, feelings validated, and accountability from those in charge be made, along with some form of appreciation,” said Tamika James, a 16-year monitor at Topeka USD 501. “We need consistency, stability, and a strong foundation, and we feel like Teamsters Local 696 is the best fit for our department.”

Teamsters Local 696 represents workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Northern Kansas, including UPS workers, public employees, school bus drivers, sanitation workers, and more. For more information, go to