Steward Representation?

Under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, when an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:

  • The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. THE EMPLOYEE CANNOT BE PUNISHED FOR THIS REQUEST!
  • After the employee makes the request the employer must either
    • Grant the request and delay questioning until the union rep arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee. OR
    • Deny the request and end the interview immediately. OR
    • Give the employee the choice of 1) having the interview without representation (REMEMBER YOU CANNOT BE PUNISHED FOR THIS REQUEST) 2) ending the interview.
  • 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.

WHAT IS AN INVESTIGATORY INTERVIEW?

When a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline, or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct. IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS A REASONABLE BELIEF that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what he or she says the employee has a right to union representation. Interviews usually relate to subjects such as but not limited to-absenteeism, accidents, damage to company property, drinking, drugs, falsification of records, fighting, insubordination, lateness, poor attitude, sabotage, theft, violation of business code and work performance (scorecard).

As you know, management documents all discussions with our members, keep in mind management may tell you this is not a disciplinary meeting, HOWEVER WHAT THEY ARE DOCUMENTING MAY BE HELD AGAINST YOU AT ANOTHER TIME IN THE FUTURE FOR DISCIPLINE.

The presence of a steward can help in many ways. For example:

  • Help a fearful or inarticulate member explain what happened.
  • Raise extenuating factors
  • Advise a member against blindly denying everything giving the appearance of dishonest and guilt.
  • Stop a member from losing his or her temper and perhaps being disciplined for insubordination.
  • Serve as a witness to prevent supervisors from giving false account of the conversation.

One of the most vital functions of a Union Steward is to prevent management from intimidating employees. Nowhere is this more important than in a closed meeting when supervisors or security, often trained in interrogation techniques, attempt to coerce employees into confessing wrongdoing.

This may present a problem if a member chooses to have a discussion with management without union representation and the meeting may warrant additional investigation or a grievance. My recommendation would be to utilize your rights and always make a clear request for a Union Steward to be present.

If this needs any clarification!!! IF A MANAGER WANTS TO HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH YOU – REQUEST A UNION STEWARD!