Your Rights as a Member

What Every Member Needs to Know

There may be times when you are confronted with a problem which requires assistance from your Union/Association. If you need advice or representation, You can count on us. We will help you.

By Florida law, you are covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Your contract provides the legal right to have a union/association representative present in a meeting with management if you believe that some form of discipline may result from such meeting. However, you must clearly state your concern and clearly request union representation.

This is your Weingarten Right.


Q: What should I do if I suspect discipline arising out of a meeting with management?

A: Keep the following statement in front of you and politely but clearly state it:

"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or could affect my personal working conditions, I am asserting my Weingarten Right and request that a Union Representative be present at this meeting."

Say this, repeat it, then do not engage in any further discussion except to reschedule, if necessary.

Q: Does this right apply to all meetings with administrators?
A: No, only those that conceivably will lead to discipline-anything from reprimands to non-renewal or dismissal.

Q: What if my principal calls in the AP or other admin?
A: You may have your AR there also. Request it!

Q: What if I am meeting on a curriculum matter and then the subject changes to one that might lead to discipline?
A: Stop the “interview”. Request union representation, even if it means continuing this portion of the meeting to another time.

Q: Can I bring my spouse, a lawyer, or a friend?
A: No, the law entitles you to an association representation. You're not entitled to other representation or witnesses.

Q: Do I have the right to call in a particular union member?
A: Generally the steward or association representative will be called. The idea is to provide you with skilled union representation, in addition to the moral support of a union colleague.

Q: What is the role of the union representative during such a meeting?
A: The union representative is there to assist the member, and to protect the Collective Bargaining Agreement rights. The union representative has the right to speak on his or her behalf and to meet with the member privately before the interview with management.

Q: Can we give up our right to union representation?
A: There are two ways to give up those rights: By contract language or by inaction. Of course, your collective bargaining agreement does not waive your rights to union representation. However, once on the spot, you might get bullied into waiving your right or not asserting your right. In such a case you have little recourse later.

If Trouble Strikes

Here is some practical advice, which you should use to protect your rights until help arrives:

  1. If confronted with charges, remain calm and courteous.
  2. Ask for your Union/Association Representative to be present. If your rep is not available, ask to reschedule the meeting.
  3. Listen carefully to accusations. Then ask for time to think or to secure information.
  4. Make written notes of the events which occur in any confrontation or accusatory session, or of any other action which appears to be related. Take down every detail, including names of witnesses and others involved while the details are fresh in your mind.
  5. In the event of a confrontation or threat to your job, do NOT resign or sign any papers or agreement.
  6. Notify your Association Representative and the Union/Assocation office if trouble strikes immediately.

If you are interested in legal representation, you must contact your local union/association office first, not FEA Legal.

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