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NTEU Chapter 338, Newsletter Today!
NTEU Chapter 338, Newsletter Today!
Catch up on the last news and information in this edition of the NTEU Chapter 338, newsletter. We discuss topics that affect our customers, the bargaining employee.
Chapter 388, Newsletter
"A note from the Chapter President"
Bargaining Unit Employees
Dues Paying Members
NTEU Field Office Tips
You may have heard of “Weingarten Rights,” but what are they? You are not alone if you do not know precisely when you have Weingarten Rights as an employee. “Is it whenever I meet with a manager, and they are asking me questions?” or “Is it when I receive discipline?” Employees are often unclear about the lines that Weingarten can draw in the workplace. The following information can help.
5 USC 7114 (a)(2)(B) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute) states that an exclusive representative (the union) shall be given the opportunity to be represented at any examination of an employee by a representative of the agency in connection with an investigation if the employee reasonably believes the examination may result in disciplinary action and the employee requests representation. This stemmed from Supreme Court Case and is essentially replicated in Article 18, Section 3 of the NTEU/FLETC Collective Bargaining Agreement.
For management to trigger these rights, the situation must meet four elements. There must be 1) an examination of a bargaining unit employee by an agency representative; 2) that examination must occur in connection with an investigation; 3) the employee must reasonably
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believe that the examination may result in discipline, and 4) the employee must request representation.
We can get far into the weeds here, but let’s look at some basic considerations. What you must first consider is, whether there is an examination. Is a manager asking you questions or are they just giving you feedback (even if it’s negative) or counseling? If there are questions to which you must provide a response, it very much could qualify as an examination.
The second question is whether management is conducting the questioning pursuant to an investigation. Importantly, the employee must reasonably believe discipline could result from the questioning. This belief is measured from the perspective of the employee and whether that person in fact feels as though the answers to the questions could trigger disciplinary action against them. This applies whether the employee being questioned is the subject of an interview or a witness. Finally (and importantly), as the employee, you should ask the questioner for a union rep if you think the elements of Weingarten have been met.
There are no magic words to recite, just simply ask the questioner for a representative or to speak with the union. Although FLETC is obligated to notify employees of their rights annually, it is up to you to know your rights in an individual situation and ask for a rep. Even if you are not sure, you may ask and be sure to document that you asked. If you are ever in doubt, contact a union steward who can provide you guidance or representation if appropriate.
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