In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in the Weingarten decision, that an employee is entitled to have a Union representative present during any workplace interview which may result in his or her discipline. It is up to each Union member to insist on representation. If you fail to do so, you may waive your rights.
Know Your Rights to Representation
If you are ever called into a meeting with your supervisor or manager so they can investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights:
- You have the right to have a Union Steward present.
- If you want a Steward there, you must ask for him or her.
- If you do not know why your manager wants to meet with you, ask him/her if it is a meeting that could result in discipline.
- If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a Steward, repeat your request in front of a witness. Do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions, either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over, call your Steward at once.
- You have the right to speak privately with your Steward before the meeting and during the meeting.
- Your Steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting. She or he is not just a witness.
These rights are called “Weingarten Rights,” based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision (NLRB vs. J. Weingarten). As with all rights, if we do not use them, we could lose them.