Know Your Rights: The Right to Representation

If you are ever called into an interview meeting with your supervisor or manager so they can investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are summarized below:

  • 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 a 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 lose them.

This statement could save your job:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated I respectfully request that my steward be present at the meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to respond to any questions or statements.”

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