Ufcw legal rights 2

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Ufcw legal rights 2

  1. 1. Legal Rights and Responsibilities of the Union Steward Angel F. González Director, Packinghouse Division UFCW Local 7
  2. 2. Where Does a Union Steward’s Power Come From? <ul><li>Contract </li></ul><ul><li>Law </li></ul><ul><li>Solidarity </li></ul>
  3. 3. When Did Unions First Receive Legal Protection in U.S.? <ul><li>1776 </li></ul><ul><li>1867 </li></ul><ul><li>1935 </li></ul><ul><li>1972 </li></ul>President Roosevelt signing the National Labor Relations Act. Photo from FDR Library
  4. 4. In a Time of Protests by Industrial and Unemployed Workers Mayor John F. Dore addresses a mass meeting of the unemployed in Seattle.  6/6/32 MSCUA, U. of Washington Libraries,  Lee 20121 Textile Strike of 1934 – 500,000 workers in 21 states
  5. 5. The National Labor Relations Act: Workers Have the Right to… <ul><li>Organize, Join, or Assist Unions </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiate Collectively </li></ul><ul><li>Take Part in </li></ul><ul><li>“ Concerted Activities” </li></ul>Photo from the UFCW Website
  6. 6. The National Labor Relations Act: Bosses Are NOT Allowed to… <ul><li>Interfere with Workers who exercise their union rights </li></ul><ul><li>Discriminate Against Workers for union activism </li></ul><ul><li>Refuse to Bargain with the union in “good faith” </li></ul>
  7. 7. What if Bosses Break the Law? <ul><li>“ Unfair Labor Practice Charge ” (ULP) </li></ul><ul><li>Filed with the National Labor Relations Board </li></ul><ul><li>Must be filed within 6 months, unless it is a continuing violation </li></ul><ul><li>What is the punishment for a ULP? </li></ul>
  8. 9. Case #1 – Can They Do That? While representing a grievance, Steward Dan tells his boss, “Stop acting like an idiot. The contract is clear – anyone can see that.” Dan’s boss gives him a suspension for insubordination.
  9. 10. “ Equality Rule” in Bargaining and Representation <ul><li>A steward is considered equal to management when representing a grievance or bargaining </li></ul><ul><li>Are there limits? </li></ul>
  10. 11. Case #2 – Can They Do That? Maria, a new steward, and her co-worker were caught horse playing in the store. The co-worker got a warning, but Maria was suspended. Management said that “as a union steward, she should know better and set an example for her co-workers.”
  11. 12. Same Standards and No-Reprisal Rule <ul><li>Stewards cannot be held to higher standards than other workers (except regarding strike activity) </li></ul><ul><li>A steward can not be threatened or punished for filing grievances </li></ul><ul><li>How do you prove discrimination for union activity? </li></ul>
  12. 13. Case #3 – Can They Do That? Your co-worker Alma is called into the supervisor’s office. She asks for a union steward, but the supervisor says, “No - that won’t be necessary.” The supervisor begins to ask Alma why she has been late three times this week. Alma is scared and decides to answer the questions.
  13. 14. “ Weingarten” Representation Rights (U.S. Supreme Ct. 1975) <ul><li>Investigatory interview, and </li></ul><ul><li>Could lead to discipline, and </li></ul><ul><li>Employee requests representation </li></ul>How can the employer respond? What if the employer refuses?
  14. 15. What are a Steward’s Rights when Called to a Weingarten Meeting? <ul><li>Before the Meeting: </li></ul><ul><li>Right to a brief, private meeting with the worker </li></ul><ul><li>Right to know general subject and charges from employer </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>During the Meeting: </li></ul><ul><li>Right to be a witness </li></ul><ul><li>Right to give the worker advice </li></ul><ul><li>Right to ask questions, make comments (ex: clarify questions, raise extenuating factors) </li></ul><ul><li>Right to object to abusive or misleading questions </li></ul><ul><li>Limits: Steward can’t answer for the worker and can’t tell the worker not to answer questions </li></ul>What are a Steward’s Rights in a Weingarten Meeting?
  16. 17. Case #4 – Can They Do That? Your co-worker Joe was given a written warning for not wearing some of his safety equipment. You filed a grievance and asked management for a list of all employees disciplined in the past five years for failing to wear safety equipment. Management refused, saying the information is private, and five years is too much information to collect.
  17. 18. Stewards’ Right to Information <ul><li>If you’re filing a grievance, when can you request information from management? </li></ul><ul><li>Before filing a grievance? </li></ul><ul><li>To prove points you need to win a grievance? </li></ul><ul><li>To make the employer prove its claims? </li></ul><ul><li>To prepare for arbitration? </li></ul><ul><li>What types of information can you request? </li></ul>
  18. 19. Case #5 – Can They Do That? Your co-worker Tony is very upset. He was fired for grazing, and multiple witnesses say they saw him do it. The union decided not to file a grievance, and Tony is threatening to file legal charges against the union steward for failing to represent him. Can he do that?
  19. 20. Stewards’ Responsibility Under Duty of Fair Representation <ul><li>By law, stewards and union officers must represent all bargaining unit members fairly </li></ul><ul><li>A person charging failure to represent may bring an Unfair Labor Practice with the NLRB </li></ul><ul><li>The Union (not individual stewards or officers) is liable in these cases </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have to file every grievance, or take every grievance to arbitration? </li></ul>
  20. 21. Tips For Union Stewards: Duty Of Fair Representation <ul><li>Perform a thorough investigation; </li></ul><ul><li>Follow contractual time limits; </li></ul><ul><li>Keep an employee informed about the status of his or her grievance; </li></ul><ul><li>Make decisions based on the merits of the grievance rather than personal bias; </li></ul><ul><li>Advise the grievant of the decision and the reasons for it. </li></ul>
  21. 22. Case #6 – Can They Do That? You are handing out a union newsletter in the break room. The front page article is called, “We’re Sick of Harassment in the store!” and lists complaints about the supervisor, by name. The store manager gets mad and takes all your copies of the newsletter. He says it is not approved by management, and can’t be distributed on company facilities or grounds.
  22. 23. Right to Distribute Union Literature <ul><li>The union decides the content of its newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Workers have the right to distribute literature in non-work areas, non-work times </li></ul><ul><li>What about paid breaks? </li></ul>
  23. 24. When Can You “Talk Union”? <ul><li>You can “talk union” whenever you can talk about other non-work issues </li></ul><ul><li>Limitation: conversations that interrupt work </li></ul>
  24. 25. Right to Engage in “Concerted Activity” <ul><li>Distribute Union Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Join Committees </li></ul><ul><li>Attend Union Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Demand Group Meeting with Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Gather Petitions </li></ul><ul><li>Submit a Group Grievance </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute Informational Flyer </li></ul><ul><li>Hold Lunchtime Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions? </li></ul>

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