SMART Transportation representatives met at General Committee 875 offices yesterday for the second in a series of classes designed to improve discipline case handling and negotiation skills. The classes were timely given the over 150 cases General Committee 875 representatives were dealing with this week. The staggering number and backlog of discipline cases is a top priority for General Chairman Marco Gudino and this weeks efforts are a major step forward in dealing with the issue.
While the General Committee practices, trains and takes classes to better represent their members, they would like to remind the members of some very important rules and rights that employees have in the event of potential discipline. Weingarten Rights guarantee an employee the right to Union representation during an investigatory interview that may result in discipline. These rights, which are guaranteed by a 1975 US Supreme Court decision, dictate a number of rules to the employer and employee and they are as follows.
Rule #1 - The employee must make a clear request for Union representation before or during the interview. The employee can't be punished for making this request. The employer is under no obligation to advise an employee of this right.
Rule #2 - After the employee has made a request for Union representation, the employer has 3 options.
1) Grant the request and delay the interview until the Union representatives arrives and has had a chance to consult with the employee.
2) Deny the request and end the interview.
3) Give the employee the choice to continue the interview without Union representation or ending the interview.
Rule #3 - If the employer denies the request and continues to ask questions, the employee has the right to refuse to answer. The employee cannot be disciplined for the refusal but is required to remain at the interview until the interview is ended by the employer. Leaving before the end of the interview can be punished as insubordination.
The key to these rules are to remain calm and simply ask for Union representation in the case of potential discipline. A quick meeting with a Union representative could make all the difference in the world.