Stewards Seminar 2017
Welcome leaders! This page is dedicated to supplying you with as many tools as you may need.
The Supreme Court in the case of NLRB v. J. Weingarten Inc. held that an employee in a Union work place who is being questioned by management, and who has reasonable belief that he or she could be disciplined, has a right to Union representation prior to answering management's questions.
The member must make a request to have union representation before or during the interview. The Steward cannot request representation for the employee. Management cannot pressure an employee to drop a Weingarten request. The interview must be investigatory. How can you tell? It is usually not when an employee is called into the office to be given a discipline letter.
It may be investigatory if the boss asks questions that the employee thinks might result in discipline, if answered. A urine test may be investigatory, and management must allow employee to consult with union whether to take the test. The right only exists where a member "reasonably" thinks that discipline might result. Stewards have the right to be included in any interview that may result in an employee's discipline, unless the employee wants no representation.
A Steward has the right to know the reason and subject of the interview before it starts, and take the employee outside for a private conference. A Steward may also speak during the interview, request clarification from supervisor to ensure member understands the questions, advise the member how to answer questions, and provide additional information after the interview. You do not have the right to argue the case. This is not a grievance meeting.
If you or your members' Weingarten rights are not respected by management, then immediately tell your Business Agent.
Tips during investigatory interview
- Take as much control as possible.
- Indicate willingness to cooperate fully.
- Caucus with employee as necessary.
- Ask questions to assist employee to tell their story, mitigating circumstances, etc.
- Closing statement to summarize favorable information.
- Take good notes.
Sign up new employees for union membership! Every employee in a union work place must pay dues, but is not required to be a member. When employees don't join the union, they have the option to pay lower dues, can cross the picket line, and can WEAKEN the strength of the union. These employees who are not members cannot attend union meetings, vote on the contract, run for union office, or vote for union officers or stewards.
Resources: Beeson, Tayer & Bodine