Archives

Weingarten Rights

Your Right to Union Representation

Your Rights to AAUP Help  
As the CSU-AAUP is given exclusive collective bargaining rights in Article 2 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement, you have certain rights to representation by the AAUP in the US Code (Title 5, Section 7114). You have a right to representation in any formal discussion occurring between you and management concerning any grievance, or any personnel policy or practice, or any other general condition of employment.

Furthermore, in 1975 the US Supreme Court ruled (National Labor Relations Board vs Weingarten, Inc.) that you have a right to have a member of your union with you when you feel that a meeting with a manager might be an interview investigating a circumstance that could lead to your discipline or termination. Any meeting in which you may be asked to defend your conduct would be a typical example.

If you have a reasonable belief that something you say could result in discipline or termination or other adverse consequences, then you have the right to ask for union representation. Management does not have to remind you of your right to this; you have the responsibility to know of this right and to invoke it. Further, it is unlawful for management to discipline you for asking for this representation.

What Should I Say?  
ECSU-AAUP provides this statement which you may recite verbatim to exercise your Weingarten rights:

“If this meeting can in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or have any adverse effect on my working conditions at ECSU, I respectfully request that an AAUP representative be present at this meeting. Without this representative present, I choose not to participate in this meeting.”

Upon hearing you exercise your rights, the manager must take one of three steps:

  • Stop the interview and wait for your AAUP representative to arrive, or reschedule
  • Cancel the meeting completely
  • Threaten to call off the interview unless you give up your right to a union representative

If you are offered the last choice, you should refuse it. The manager is coercing you to waive your right to a union representative. Please do not waive your rights! An AAUP representative can help you very much in this interview!

What if Management Questioning Continues?  
Should questioning continue, you should immediately stop answering. Stay calm. The AAUP recommends that you write down the questions being asked. Then read back the question you have written to the manager to be sure that it is posed precisely. Upon pressure to answer, simply say that you will supply written answers to the questions after discussing them with an AAUP representative.

How Can AAUP Help?  
If there is a luxury of time, your AAUP representative will meet with you before the interview to discuss what you know of the case already. If this opportunity is not an option because management called the representative to the meeting without rescheduling, the AAUP representative will ask for a recess for a private conference with you. Management is required by law to grant this recess.

Your AAUP representative will advise you to:

  • Keep answers short, direct, and “I don’t know”; is OK!
  • Stay calm and focused. Getting emotional signals trouble; a recess may be needed.
  • Focus on the facts. Who, what, when, where, why, how?

The AAUP representative will advise the manager to:

  • Refrain from harassment, abuse, or intimidation
  • Stay calm and focused, maybe suggesting a recess
  • Avoid certain kinds of questions

The AAUP representative will:

  • Take extensive notes, perhaps reading back portions for clarity, and use them in the likely grievance that will follow
  • Work after the meeting for fair resolution, consulting the contract, Senate bills and other documents
  • Keep a communication channel open with you as the situation unfolds

Can I Also Use My Lawyer?  
By using an AAUP representative, you by no means lose your right to have legal representation at any step in the process. However, any personal lawyer you may bring is subordinate during all grievance processes led by the AAUP. After the AAUP exhausts all options open to you under the contract and its grievance process, then your personal lawyer may take the lead in any civil action you may elect to pursue.

Who Would Be My AAUP Representative?  
The ECSU-AAUP chapter has a range of officers and other members available to help you. Some have more experience and training than others with various circumstances, and you may be referred to one of them as a recommended choice. However, you may ask anyone you wish.

Please click here for our List of Current Officers