Trenton Metro Area Local
American Postal Workers Union
Know Your Rights
EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO UNION REPRESENTATION
rights of unionized employees to have present a union representative
during investigatory interviews were announced by the U.S. Supreme Court
in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM 2689).
These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.
have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews:
investigatory interview occurs 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.
employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse
consequences may result from what he or she says, the employee has the
right to request union representation.
is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten
rights; it is the employees responsibility to know and request.
the employee makes the request for a union representative to be present
management has three options:
can stop questioning until the representative arrives.
can call off the interview or,
can tell the employee that it will call off the interview unless the
employee voluntarily gives up his/her rights to a union representative
(an option the employee should always refuse.)
youíve asked for union representation, any attempt by management to
continue asking questions before a union representative gets there is
ILLEGAL. If supervisors pressure you by telling you that "youíre
only making things worse for yourself" by asking for union
representation, thatís against the law too.
will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an
investigatory interview is to observe the discussion. The Supreme Court,
however, clearly acknowledges a representative's right to assist and
counsel workers during the interview.
Supreme Court has also ruled that during an investigatory interview
management must inform the union representative of the subject of the
interrogation. The representative must also be allowed to speak
privately with the employee before the interview. During the
questioning, the representative can interrupt to clarify a question or
to object to confusing or intimidating tactics.
interview is in progress the representative can not tell the employee
what to say but he may advise them on how to answer a question. At the
end of the interview the union representative can add information to
support the employee's case.
to Say if Management Asks Questions That Could Lead to Discipline:
this discussion could in anyway lead to my being disciplined or
terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I request that my
union representative, officer, or steward by present at the meeting.
Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions."
itís important to know what your Weingarten rights are, it is also
important to know the limits.
not entitled to have a steward present every time a supervisor wants to
talk to you. Remember, if the discussion begins to change into
questioning that could lead to discipline, you have the right to ask for
representation before the conversation goes any further. If you are
called into the supervisorís office for an investigation, you canít
refuse to go without your steward. All you can do is refuse to answer
questions until your union representative (or steward) gets there and
youíve had a chance to talk things over.
Rights Before Postal Inspectors & OIG Agents
If questioned by a U.S.
Postal Inspector, even if you believe you are not guilty of any wrong
doing, it is suggested that you:
This is not complete
legal advise. Always consult with a lawyer.
I request the presence of
my APWU representative. If I am a suspect in a criminal matter,
please so advise me. If so, I wish to contact my attorney.
His/Her name is
If I am under arrest, I
request you to so advise me and to inform me of the reason or reasons.
I do not consent to a
search of my person or property. If you have a search warrant, I
request to see it at this time.