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December 13, 2017
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Weingarten Rights

Your Weingarten Rights

IF YOU ARE CALLED INTO A MEETING WITH ANY MANAGEMENT REPRESENTATIVE AND HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT DISCIPLINARY ACTION MAY RESULT, READ THEM YOUR WEINGARTEN RIGHTS...

MY WEINGARTEN RIGHTS....

"IF THIS DISCUSSION COULD IN ANY WAY LEAD TO MY BEING DISCIPLINED OR TERMINATED, OR AFFECT MY PERSONAL WORKING CONDITIONS, I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT MY UNION REPRESENTATIVE OR STEWARD BE PRESENT AT THIS MEETING. WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, I CHOOSE NOT TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS."

YOU ARE ENTITLED TO UNION REPRESENTATION...BUT IT IS UP TO YOU TO INSIST ON UNION REPRESENTATION.  IF YOU FAIL TO DO SO, YOU MAY WAIVE YOUR RIGHTS. DO THE FOLLOWING...

1 Ask your supervisor if you might be disciplined as a result of the interview. If he says "NO", ask for a written statement to that effect. If he gives you such a statement, you must participate in the interview. If not, read him your Weingarten rights, remain for the meeting, take notes, and afterwards immediately contact your union representative.

2 If he/she says you might be disciplined but will not allow you to have a union representative present, read him your Weingarten rights, stay in the room, take notes, and do not respond to any questions. Afterwards, contact your union representative immediately. If he allows your union representative to be present you should participate in the interview. 

An employee who is called to an interview with his or her employer which may lead to some disciplinary action, is entitled to Union representation. In NLRB vs. Weingarten and its companion case, ILGWU vs. Quality Mfg. Co., (88 LRRM 2689), the Supreme Court agreed with the NLRB, that an employee has the right to Union representation at an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes will result in disciplinary action. Seeking Union representation in a confrontation with an employer, the court said is protected activity within the meaning of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The Court added these limitation to its ruling:

  1. 1) The right arises only when the employee requests Union representation;
  2. 2) Exercise of the right to Union representation may not interfere with "legitimate employer prerogatives," such as the employer's right to conduct an interview without undue delay;
  3. 3) An employer need not justify its refusal to permit Union representation but may go forward with the investigation from other Sources;
  4. 4) The employer is under no duty to bargain with the Union representation during an investigatory interview and may insist on hearing only the employee's account of the matter being investigated. (There is, of course, a duty to bargain during a disciplinary interview, or grievance hearing.)

In subsequent decisions, the NLRB has expended the right to Union representation.

PRIOR CONSULTATION: The right to Union representation at a disciplinary interview includes a right of prior consultation between the employee and the Union representative.

REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE: An employee may refuse to participate in an investigatory interview where a request for Union representation has been made and denied, however, don't leave the meeting without permission especially if you are on the clock counseling sessions: the right to union representation may also be invoked at counseling sessions held by an employer to discuss production quotas where such sessions were "A preliminary step to the imposition of discipline." The Board has also said that the Weingarten Rule does not apply to the "run of the mill" shop floor conversations where instructions are given or work techniques are corrected and there is no reasonable basis for an employee to fear an "adverse impact" from the interview.

INTERFERENCE WITH EMPLOYEE RIGHTS: An employer has unlawfully interfered with an employee's right to union representation at an interview by threatening the individual that the exercise of this right would result in more severe discipline.





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