APWU Raises Concerns Over USPS Instructions To Managers Regarding Weingarten Rights

 From APWU’s Industrial Relations:

The APWU sent a letter to the Postal Service raising concerns about a draft notification to supervisors and managers instructing them how to apply employees’ rights under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision. The Postal Service’s instructions were finalized on a laminated, wallet-size card which was mailed to supervisors and managers, as well as other PCES and EAS employees it determined have a need to know about employees’ Weingarten rights. The union’s specific concerns are set out in detail in the letter, and the Postal Service’s response will be made available upon receipt.

Paragraph 1 states that if the employee requests a union steward at any time, before or during the interview, or in any way indicates that he/she wants representation, the supervisor must do one of three things: “(1) you must provide a steward, or (2) you must end the interview, or (3) you must offer the employee the choice of continuing the interview without a steward, or of having no interview at all and therefore losing the benefit that the interview might have given to him or her.” [emphasis added]

Our concerns about this instruction is that it improperly gives supervisors and managers the false impression that they (1) have the right to deny employees’ request for union representation to which the employee is entitled, and (2) they have an option of not conducting a pre-disciplinary interview to which employees are also entitled.

Notwithstanding an employee’s Weingarten Rights, it would be a violation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement not to grant an employee’s request for union representation to assist and participate in investigatory interviews that the employee has a reasonable belief may lead to discipline. Additionally, separate from Weingarten, not only would it be a violation of our collective bargaining agreement, but it is also unconstitutional for management not to conduct a pre-disciplinary interview. Thus, the reference to “having no interview at all and therefore losing the benefit that the interview might have given to him or her” is not appropriate. I suggest, therefore, that this phrase be eliminated and replaced with a simple statement that the employee has “a choice of continuing the interview without a steward orending the interview.”
 Click here for a copy [pdf] of the APWU’s letter detailing concerns about the Weingarten wallet card.