Should a supervisor request a meeting with you…
Read them your rights according to the law!
(Rights also printed on the back of your member card)
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, officer, or steward be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.
If you are a union member, you have a right to have union representation at any interview or meeting that could lead to disciplinary action against you. The Supreme Court case of National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B) v. Weingarten, decided in 1975, established this basic entitlement and the procedures for when and how union reps may participate in interviews. Collectively, these rules are referred to as Weingarten rights.
An employee who reasonably believes that an investigatory interview could lead to discipline is entitled to ask for union representation. An investigatory interview is a meeting with management at which the employee will be questioned or asked to explain his or her conduct, and which could lead to disciplinary action against the employee.
The employer is not obligated to inform employees of their Weingarten rights or to ask whether an employee would like a union rep at a meeting or interview. The employee must affirmatively request union representation.
Once you’ve asked for the union representative, any attempt by management to continue asking questions before a representative gets there is an unfair labor practice . If supervisors pressure you by telling you that “you’re only making things worse for yourself” by asking for a union representative, that’s against the law . So be sure to:
These are not complete guidelines—always consult with a union representative and/or attorney.
Employers will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an investigatory interview is to observe the discussion. The Supreme Court, however, clearly acknowledges a representative’s right to assist and counsel workers during the interview. The Supreme Court has also ruled that during an investigatory interview management must inform the union representative of the subject of the interrogation. The representative must also be allowed to speak privately with the employee before the interview.
During the questioning, the Union representative can interrupt to clarify a question or to object to confusing or intimidating tactics. While the interview is in progress the representative cannot tell the employee what to say but he may advise them on how to answer a question. If necessary, a representative may ask for a caucus to meet with the employee privately to provide further advice. At the end of the interview the union representative can add information to support the employee’s case. One of the most vital functions of a Union steward is to prevent management from intimidating employees. Nowhere is this more important than in closed-door meetings when supervisors are often trained in interrogation techniques, attempt to coerce employees into confession to wrongdoing.