Westford Education Association
Weingarten Rights: Your Right to Representation

This term refers to your right to have union representation with you at any meeting with an administrator at which you have a reasonable expectation that discipline of any nature or dismissal could result. If you have been told that the meeting could result in a disciplinary action, or have reason to believe it could, respectfully request that a union representative be present. This is a right that you must assert in order to exercise; the administrator is not required to inform you of it. If you are denied union representation and choose to respond to questions asked, be as brief as possible and do not elaborate. If you choose not to answer, you may be charged with insubordination. If you were denied your statutory right to union representation, that fact would be used in any future defense.

Weingarten rights, as established in a 1975 United States Supreme Court decision — NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. — guarantee an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview. The state Division of Labor Relations (formerly the state Labor Relations Commission) has adopted the Weingarten rules for public employees covered by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 150E. These rights are based upon private- and public-sector collective bargaining laws.
Your Weingarten Rights
An employee in a unionized workplace who is called into a meeting with his or her employer that may lead to disciplinary action is entitled to union representation upon request. Because the law does not specifically require a supervisor to inform employees of this right at or before such a meeting, the employee must state that he or she wants a union representative present. Once the request is made, the meeting must terminate until a representative is present. Faculty and staff cannot lawfully be disciplined for invoking this or any other union right.

Information taken from MTA Employee Guide Road Map for Beginning Educators (2012) and Road Map for MTA Higher Education Members (2013).