NEW YORK NURSE: November/December 2011
Among your rights as a member of a labor union is protection against unfair discipline, including suspension or termination, as well as the right to have a union representative present in all disciplinary meetings, but you need to give your union representative the tools needed to help protect you.
If you are called into a meeting with your supervisor or other management, ask: can this discussion lead to my being disciplined in any way, including being suspended or terminated, or could it affect my working conditions?
If the answer is “yes,” ask for your union representative to be present at the meeting.
During a disciplinary investigation, both private and public sector employees have the right to assistance and counsel from their union. Employers cannot take any retaliatory actions against employees or discipline them for requesting union representation. You have a right to speak with your union representative in private before the meeting. Additionally, at the meeting, your union representative has a right to ask questions and speak on your behalf.
Other red flags that should prompt you to seek union representation include:
If you are in a meeting and it becomes clear to you that it is a disciplinary investigation or could lead to you being disciplined, respectfully tell management that you will not continue the discussion without your union representative present. If the employer refuses to discontinue the questioning or to allow union representation, you and your union can file a grievance and/or unfair labor practice charge against the employer.
If you are asked to provide a written statement, contact your union representative and seek their counsel about the request before providing it.