Weingarten Rights

One of the most vital function of a Union Steward is to prevent management from intimidating employees. Nowhere is this more important than in closed-door meetings when supervisors or guards, often trained in interrogation techniques, attempt to coerce employees into confessing to wrongdoing.

In 1975 in NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc. the U. S. Supreme Court announced the rights of employees in the presence of union representatives during investigatory interviews. Since that case involved a clerk being investigated by the Weingarten Company, these rights have become known as Weingarten Rights.

Weingarten Rules

Under the Supreme Court's Weingarten decision, when an investigatory Interview occurs, the following rules apply:

The employee must make a clear request for union representation.      Before or during the interview. "I want a Shop Steward" The employee cannot be punished for making this request.

After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options. The employer must either:

A.    Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative   arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee; or

B.    Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or

C.    Give the employee a choice of (1) having the interview without representation or (2) ending the interview.

If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.

Shop Stewards should explain Weingarten rights to all employees they represent. 
Cards with the following statement are available at 
The Local Lodge 10 Union Hall

If this discussion could in any way lead to my     being disciplined or terminated, or affect my  personal working condition, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward      be present  at the meeting. Without representation
I choose not to answer any questions.

Shop Stewards Guide


One of the most satisfying tasks one can perform in lige is is representing our members at the job site in the capacity of steward.

The steward is one of the most important persons in the IAM. These individuals make working and bargaining collective with our employers click. They are the first lineof defense in enforcing the negotiated rights and conditions of enployment of our members. The steward breathes life into the collective bargaining agreement and shields their fellow workers from unscrupulous employers who might not want to live up to what they've agreed to do or who would try to operate the workplace in a discriminatory manner.

If you are a new steward you may have questions about your duties-and even a few doubts about your ability to do the job.

We do not pretend that job of steward is easy. But with this pocket guide. we jppe you can avoid many pitfalls. Based on the experience of others it tells you what to expect and how to proceed. It discusses problems most likely to atise. But most of all it assures you that you do not stand alone. Behind you in the never-ending fight for justice on the job stand your local lodge, your district, and your international union.

Congratulations upon becoming a steward of the IAM. I welcome and thank you for the servicew you willl render for your brother and sister members.


R. Thomas Bufffenbarger                                                                                                                               

International President.

2. The Stewards Big Job

Congratulations, steward! You are the chief architect of the union in your plant, the protector of the union contract, the director of communications between each individual worker in your department and the management  of your facility, and between the workers you represent and your union.

That's a big job! But don't let it scare you! If you are a new steward, you can;t possibly know all the angles by magic. You can't possibly know all the things this manual says you must know. Not right away, and not all at once. If you are a neew steward, you will learn them, gradually, through experience. So don't ger frightenend, but take the jobin your stride! But even if you're pretty confident and an old hand at the game, it won't hurt to refresh yourself a bit.Perhaps you'll get a new idea while reading this manual which will come in handy in a pinch.
Reading a pamphlet or going to a stewards' class won't fo the job for you. but it may help you to do it better.

3. Need For Stewards

The steward system developed to meet the needs of unions as they grew in sizeand scope. Workers needed someone on the spot to whom they could take their grievances as they came up. A person was needed to make sure management was living up to its agreement day by day, for collective demands eternal vigilance.

The steward is to the union what the supervisor is to a company. Just as the supervisor is the company to the average worker, so the steward is the union to the average member. But whereas the supervisor represents the company and acts as its spokesman as part of his or her regular full-time job,the steward must take time off duringworking hours to handle grievances.Naturally, the agreement should provide that the steward be paid for thetime lost to handling grievances during working hours. The clause might read as follows.

"The company will pay stewards, members of the shop committee, and aggrieved employees at their regular hourly rate, or average hourly earnings whichever is greater, for time spent in processing grievances in accordance with the provisions of this agreement."

Again in contrast to the supervisor, the stewaed is not at all sure of keeping  his or her job when layoffs begin.    He or she must also wait in turn to be rehired. This is in acordance wirh the usual seniority provisions. Many agreements try to overcome this disadvantage by providing the steward with top seniority in the workplace. This protects the steward to the extent that he or she is the last worker to be laid off and first to be recalled. But don't get it in your headthat you can leave your place of work when you please because you are a steward. Under most contracts, stewards may leave their postsonly to handle grievances and only after notice to the supervisor. If the supervisor refuses to grant such a request, it is subject to the grievance process as explained in this manual. Tut the grievance should be filed at the first opportunity

In some cases, the union provides that before employees are eligible for the office of steward they should have at least one year's seniority with the company. This also affords some measure of protection to stewards and makes it possible for them to be of service any time grievances occur.