The Vital function of a committeeman is to prevent management from coercing employees into confessions of misconduct. This is especially important when a supervisor experienced in interrogation techniques questions a worker.
The NLRA’s protection of concerted activity includes the right to request assistance from union representatives during investigatory interviews. The Supreme Court declared this in 1975 in NLRB v J. Weingarten, Inc. The rights announced by the Court have become the known as the Weingarten rights.
Union members should know the advantages of having a committeeman present at an investigatory interview. They are:
*Serve as a witness to prevent a supervisor from giving a false account of the conversation;
*Object to intimidation tactics or confusing questions;
*Help an employee to avoid making fatal admissions;
*Advise an employee, when appropriate, against denying everything, thereby giving the appearance of dishonesty and guilt;
*Warn an employee against losing his or her temper;
*Discourage an employee from informing on others; and
*Raise extenuating factors.
Weingarten rights apply only during investigatory interviews. An investigatory interview occurs when: (1) management questions an employee to obtain information; and (2) the employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result.
Not every discussion with management is an investigatory interview. For instance, a supervisor may speak with an employee about the proper way to do a job. The supervisor may even ask questions. But because the likelihood of discipline is remote, the conversation is not an investigatory interview. A conversation can change its character, however. If the supervisor’s attitude becomes hostile and the meeting turns into an investigatory interview the employee is entitled to representation.
The following rules apply to investigatory interviews:
*The employee can request union representation before or at any time during the interview.
*When an employee asks for representation, the employer must choose from among three questions;
1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives;
2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
3.Give the employee a choice of:
(A) having the interview without representation or
(B) ending the interview.
· If the employer denies the request for union representation and continues the meeting, the employee can refuse to answer questions.
AN EMPLOYER DOES NOT HAVE TO INFORM AN EMPLOYEE THAT HE OR SHE HAS A RIGHT TO UNION REPRESENTATION.
"IF THIS DISCUSSION COULD IN ANY WAY LEAD TO MY BEING DISCIPLINED OR TERMINATED, OR AFFECT MY PERSONAL WORKING CONDITIONS, I REQUEST THAT MY COMMITTEEMAN OR OR UNION REPRESENTATIVE BE PRESENT AT THE MEETING. WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, I CHOOSE NOT TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS!"
THIS IS YOU RIGHT UNDER A SUPREME COURT DECISION CALLED, WEINGARTEN!
Thanks to brother Mike Lewis. Mike attended “Winner Institute Training” at the University of Michigan.
Want To Go Somewhere Else?
Official Site Developed & Maintained By Gary Bostick, UAW Local #387 Network Administrator & Retiree Member.