As a member of the UFCW, you have the peace of mind of knowing your manager cannot force you into a one-on-one disciplinary meeting with them. All you have to do is request to your manager that your union representative or shop steward be present, and we can be there for you and make sure you aren’t bullied or treated unfairly.
In the Weingarten case, the Supreme Court ruled that Union-represented workers have the right to Union representation during all meetings or discussions with supervisors or managers that the member reasonably believes might lead to discipline. These meetings or discussions include discussions on the work floor, in work areas, offices and even outside the facility.
At the beginning of the meeting, the law requires the supervisor or manager to disclose all meeting topics and to give the member a chance to ask for a representative. Members can demand the presence of any on-duty steward. If none is available, the supervisor or manager must postpone the meeting until a steward is available. Companies may not punish employees for exercising their Weingarten rights.
If you work in a UFCW-represented workplace, please help encourage your fellow coworkers to exercise their Weingarten rights. This is important because they waive the right to a witness if they do not speak up and expressly request representation.
“When people come from other countries, even in small groups they should not feel alone. We’re all Union. All brothers and sisters. We deserve better quality of life no matter where we came from.” Kevin Diale, Chief Steward, 19 years at JBS
As union members, we are all responsible for advocating respect on the job and making sure we’ve got each other’s backs, but some UFCW members choose to take a more active role as stewards of our workplaces. Union stewards step up, either by election or appointment, to make sure when we reach agreements with employers, that they hold up their half of the bargain. They make sure their coworkers know what the benefits and policies the UFCW has worked out with the company are, and they welcome new members who may never have had the opportunity to be part of a union before. They also accompany coworkers at disciplinary meetings and find resolution to workplace issues as peers with management.
It is important to know who the stewards are at your workplace so you know who to turn to if you have any questions or concerns. If you aren’t sure, you can call your local union office and they will help you find out who to talk to.