As a union member, you have a right to union representation at certain meetings called Weingarten Rights. In 1975, the Supreme Court upheld a National Labor Relations Board decision that employees have the right to union representation at investigatory interviews.
Rule 1: The employee must make a clear request for union representation
before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request.
Rule 2: After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from one of these three options:
- Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives and (prior to the interview continuing) the representative has a chance to consult privately with the employee;
- Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
- Give the employee a clear choice between having the interview without representation, or ending the interview.
Rule 3: If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for refusing to answer questions in this instance.
Here’s a helpful overview courtesy of the University of Massachusetts. The major takeaway?
You must affirmatively ask for representation!
Think you might be being called into a meeting where you may be disciplined, or some investigative questioning may take place? This may apply to performance reviews, especially if you have been recently been given verbal or written warnings about your performance. Would you like your union rep to be present? Email Business Representative Steve Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download your Weingarten Rights Card.