A state board has ruled that the school bus drivers hired by Newtown Public Schools are not part of a labor organization because they are independent contractors, a decision that could have an impact on districts across the state.

The State Board of Labor Relations wrote in a 14-page decision that the drivers are not employees of the district (which would have provided them collective bargaining right) for several reasons. Those reasons include the fact that drivers can transfer one-third of their work to another individual who is compensated at a private rate, and that the driver is responsible for the repair of their vehicle and selection of an insurance provider.

“Exercise of these rights directly impacts owner operator income independent of School Board Control and denotes bargaining power in the relationship,” reads the decision.

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