Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Weingarten rights

Picture this -you get pulled over on the highway, "license and registration please. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
It was recently pointed out to me what that question means. The trooper knows why he stopped you, he just wants you to admit to it or if he gets real lucky, maybe even admit to something else.
Just to be clear, "because of the body in my trunk?" is a bad answer.
Sometimes at work we get into a similar situation. The boss calls us in, maybe someone from Human Resources is there, they say something like "someone saw you take something that was company property."
What do you say?
The answer they are looking for is “yes” maybe they hear “but it was broken and in the trash” maybe they skip over that part.
What should your answer be?
If you belong to a union it should be:

If the discussion in this meeting could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated or impact my personal working conditions, I request that my steward, local officer or union representative be present. Without union representation, I choose not to answer any further questions at this time.

These are your rights under a Supreme Court decision called Weingarten.
Recently a nurse got called in to a meeting with her manager and Human Resources. She asked to have a witness present and I volunteered to join her. Before we went in we sat and talked through what might happen and that above all we should stay calm and professional. The meeting went well and when we talked it through with management in a calm and professional way everything turned out to be a misunderstanding.
Could it have gone differently?
You bet!
Had the nurse gone in alone, said the wrong thing, lost her cool, the outcome would be different.
Remember, all the nurses at backus are in a union now.
You have the right to representation.
Stay in contact with your representative (liaison) and if you need someone by your side there are many of us who will be right there.

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