• Today in Labor History
    July 8, 1966
    From July 8 to August 19, 1966, over 35,000 airline workers across the nation employed by five airlines went on strike. After several years of stilted wage gains as the airline industry invested heavily in jet technology, aircraft mechanics and other ground service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) were anxious to share in the substantial profits of 1965. Facing a bargaining impasse between the IAM and the five carriers (United, Northwest, National, Trans World and Eastern) covered in the industry’s first multi-carrier labor contract, a Presidential Emergency Board presented a “compromise” package. In the summer of 1966, IAM members rejected this compromise and walked off the job in the largest strike in airline history. For 43 days during the peak summer travel season, 60 percent of the U.S. commercial airline industry was literally inoperative as 35,000 workers stayed out on strike.
    ~ Voices of Labor

  • The Employee's Right to Union Representation
    Updated On: Mar 03, 2015

    Understand the rights you have if you're called into the office by your employer

    The rights of unionized employees to have present a union representative during investigatory interviews was confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM  2689). These rights have come to be known as the Weingarten rights.

    Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews. An 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/her conduct.

    If an employee has 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.

    Management is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten rights; it is the employee's responsibility to know, and make the request.


    Sample request for representation:

    "If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion."

    When the employee makes the request for a union representative to be present, management has three options:

    1. It can stop questioning until the representative arrives.
    2. It can call off the interview, or –
    3. It can tell the employee that it will call off the interview unless the employee voluntarily gives up his/her rights to a union representative – and option the employee should always refuse.

    Employers will often assert that the only role of the 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.

    The 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.

    While the interview is in progress, the representative cannot tell the employee what to say, but he may advise him on how to answer a question. At the end of the interview, the union representative can add information to support the employee's case.


  • Teamsters Local 888

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