This is an important reminder for anyone who finds themselves called in for a meeting that turns out to be disciplinary.
You have a right to be represented at a disciplinary meeting by a union steward. If your boss tells you he or she is putting a letter in your file or is writing up a “performance improvement plan,” you have a right to be represented during that discussion.
But here’s the thing: You must exercise the right. The Company doesn’t have to remind you of your rights or tell you to get a steward. You have to say you want one. Once you do, the meeting cannot continue until a union steward is present. You have a right to leave or not attend if your request is denied.
You have the right to ask for a steward at any point in a meeting. If what you thought was a casual conversation turns into a discussion of your job performance, you can say at any point “I respectfully request union representation.”
These rights are so important, we spell them out on the back of your contract. Still, we’ve had recent examples of Guild members coming to us when they’ve already been disciplined, sometimes more than once. It’s much easier to represent your interests when we are present from the beginning so don’t hesitate to stand up for your rights as an employee. We’ll be glad to be there for you.