Dina Lally and Dorothy Callahan-Harris have completed the required training and have been certified by CSEA to serve as a Disciplinary and Interrogation Representatives for members of our Unit.
Dina and Dorothy join Kim Seliger, Julie DeLaney and Richard Riis as our Unit’s certified Disciplinary and Interrogation Representatives.
The union’s editorial endorsement of the 2015 operating budget for the Smithtown Special Library District has been posted by the Smithtown Matters website.
It also appears in the “Bulletin Board” sections of the Smithtown, Commack and Kings Park Patch websites, and in the “Forum” section of the Topix website, which deals with news and opinion from all of Suffolk County.
Members will be alerted if and when Smithtown News, Smithtown Messenger, Times of Smithtown and Newsday print the union’s endorsement.
“The union representative… safeguarding not only the particular employee’s interest, but also the interests of the entire bargaining unit by exercising vigilance to make certain that the employer does not initiate or continue a practice of imposing punishment unjustly.” — U.S. Supreme Court, National Labor Relations Board v. Weingarten Inc. (1975) 420 U.S. 251
Any union member in good standing may become a disciplinary representative by taking a CSEA-presented course, being certified by CSEA and appointed by the unit president. Certification is good for four years, after which representatives must be re-certified.
CSEA certification courses are offered at periodic intervals at locations in Nassau and Suffolk County. The next Local Government: Representing Members in Discipline and Interrogation Workshop is being offered close to home at CSEA Region 1 Headquarters at 3 Garet Place, Commack, on Wednesday-Thursday, October 15 and 16, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Registration is being taken now. Call (631) 462-0030. There is no fee.
Those who forward a copy of their certification to Richard Riis will be eligible for appointment to join our unit’s existing disciplinary representatives.
There has been a noticeable uptick in the number of disciplinary actions over the last year. While the reasons for this are unclear, it is crucial that union members know their rights in such situations. Although most of the following information appeared in a posting a few months ago on this page, it is worth repeating.
In addition, the following links have been added to the “Useful Links” box at bottom right on the home page of Our Union Page: CSEA Disciplinary Manual, Employee Rights Under New York State Civil Service Law Section 75. Every employee should take the time to familiarize herself/himself with the information found at these links.
Your Weingarten Rights
The right of employees to have union representation at investigatory interviews and disciplinary interrogations was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251.88 LRRN 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.
Our union members have Weingarten rights. A union member called for an investigatory interview or disciplinary interrogation (i.e. when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct) has the right to request union representation. Management is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten rights; it is the employee’s responsibility to know and request.
When an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:
Rule 1 – The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. The employee can’t be punished for making this request.
Rule 2 – After the employee makes the request, the supervisor has three options. He or she must either: 1. Grant the request and delay the interview until the union representative arrives (the representative is permitted “reasonable time” to be summoned and arrive) and has a chance to consult privately with the employee: or 2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or 3. Give the employee a choice of: 1) having the interview continue without representation (this is not recommended) or 2) ending the interview.
Rule 3 – If the supervisor denies the request and continues to ask questions, this is an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employee cannot be disciplined for such refusal but is required to sit there until the supervisor terminates the interview. Leaving before this happens may constitute punishable insubordination.
The Union Representative’s Rights Under Weingarten
Your union representative is not required to merely be a “silent witness”. The union representative has the right to:
1. Be informed by the supervisor of the subject matter of the interview.
2. Take the employee aside for a private conference before questioning begins.
3. Speak during the interview.
4. Request that the supervisor clarify a question so that what is being asked is understood.
5. Give employee advice on how to answer a question.
6. Provide additional information to the supervisor at the end of the questioning.
The union representative does not have the right to tell the employee not to answer nor, obviously, to give false answers. An employee can be disciplined for refusing to answer questions.
There will be a General Membership Meeting on Friday, September 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., in the Community Room of the Smithtown Main Building.
This Labor Day, whether you are chowing down on hamburgers and hot dogs at a backyard barbecue, enjoying the waning summer sun on the patio or at the beach, or ensconced on the sofa catching up on multiple seasons of a favorite television program on DVD, take a moment to reflect on how much working people and labor unions have contributed to American civilization, strength and national pride, and remember that you and your co-workers are among those hard-working people making their own contribution every single day.
To supervisors and schedule-makers to those who check books, CDs and DVDs in and out; to those who find the right book or magazine article or provide help with an e-reader, to those who instill the joy of reading in our youngest patrons; to those who process materials, sort the mail, keep the ledgers, pay the bills and keep our buildings and equipment clean, safe and working properly, always remember this: the Smithtown Library works because you do.