All Montana Nurses Associations' collective bargaining members have Weingarten Rights! See below for detailed information about YOUR rights as a union nurse.
WEINGARTEN RIGHTS - Weingarten rights guarantee an employee the right to Union representation during an investigatory interview. These rights, established by the Supreme Court in 1975, must be claimed by the employee.
What is an Investigatory Interview?? An investigatory interview is one in which a Supervisor asks you to attend a meeting and questions you on an issue you have been involved in to obtain information that could possibly lead to a disciplinary action. This can include a patient complaint, peer complaint, charting error, tardiness, ect. You should ask at the beginning of the meeting, "Is this a meeting that can lead to disciplinary action?" If your employer answers "Yes", you then have the right to request Union representation. If your employer answers "No", listen carefully and take notes as to what is being discussed at the meeting. If at any time you believe the meeting could lead to discipline, you have the right to invoke your Weingarten Rights.
Weingarten Rights RULES - When an Investigatory Interview occurs, the following rules apply:
1. The employee must make a clear request for Union representation before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request.
2. After the employee makes the request, the employer has three options:
- Grant the request and delay the interview until the Union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee; or
- Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
- Give the employee a choice of: 1) having the interview without representation, or 2) ending the interview.
3. If the employer denies the request for Union representation and continues to ask questions, this is an unfair labor practice and the employee has the right to refuse to answer. The employee cannot be disciplined for such refusal, but is required to remain present until the supervisor terminates the interview.
- If they keep asking questions, can I leave? No, stay at the meeting, but do not answer questions until your Union representative has a chance to arrive. A good phrase to say is "I will continue to listen, but I am going to withhold any comment until I can receive Union representation".
- Who can represent me? Your first choice is your Local unit grievance officer or leader. If neither can attend, any member can act as your representative. You have the right to a reasonable amount of time to arrange representation.
- Why do I need representation? Representation at any Investigatory Interview that could lead to discipline as it provides an employee with another set of eyes and ears. While the representative may not disrupt or obstruct the interview, but have the right to be informed by the supervisor of the subject matter of the interview, speak during interview, request clarification of questions by supervisor, give employee advice, and provide additional information to the supervisor at the end of interview. Having a representative can prevent the "He Said/She Said scenario and can be valuable when defending the employee during a grievance.
**If called into a meeting with management, state or read the following when the meeting begins:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my Union representative be present at this meeting. Without representation, I choose not to participate in this discussion"