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The rights of employee to have union representatives present when they “reasonably believe” that an investigatory interview is to take place – i.e., “Weingarten” rights – should be encouraged by stewards. So-called investigatory interviews occur when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or when employees are asked to defend their conduct. A steward can help workers to assert these rights by:
Stewards do not simply have to be passive observers during an investigatory interview, they can take an active role in the proceedings by “assisting” and “counseling” an employee.
For example, the steward:
If the “Weingarten” rights of an employee have been observed, stewards have no authority to advise an employee to withhold answers or to answer falsely, since the worker may be disciplined as a result of such action. Moreover, employers have no obligation to inform employees of their “Weingarten” rights – this is the union’s job.
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