Weingarten Rights

Information on CLC-AFO Our contract determines many of the rights and working conditions of our teaching assignments at CLC. There are several other rights and opportunities that don’t appear in the contract. The most important of these rights are called “Weingarten Rights”.

Know Your RightsThe Weingarten Rights Statement: “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or have any effect on my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer or steward be present at this meeting. Without representation, I choose not to participate in this discussion.

Your supervisors at CLC may require that you meet with them regarding your performance as an adjunct instructor at CLC. This is an important part of the administration’s job, but the results of such a meeting may also affect your working conditions in profound ways.

Since the 1970s, the US judiciary has recognized the rights of unionized employees to have a union representative present during investigatory interviews. An investigatory interview occurs 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. These rights have become known as the Weingarten Rights, from their confirmation in the 1975 US Supreme Court case NLRB v. Weingarten Inc.

Any time you find yourself facing a meeting with any agent of the administration and reasonably believe this meeting could result in disciplinary action against you, Weingarten rights apply. You are protected by these rights even before we sign our first contract. In fact, more than one adjunct at CLC has exercised Weingarten rights already. Please review the following summary of your rights:

  1. Any time you are called to a meeting with your administration, you should know the nature of the meeting beforehand. If the person calling this meeting does not volunteer this information, ask.
  2. If you reasonably believe the nature of the meeting is disciplinary, respectfully request that a union representative be present. Interrupt this meeting, if necessary.
  3. The administration now faces three options:
    1. Stop the questioning until the union representative arrives,
    2. Cancel the meeting, or
    3. Give you the choice of ending the meeting or continuing without representation.
  4. Do not continue the meeting without union representation.
  5. If the administration insists that the meeting continue without representation, an unfair labor practice has been committed. You have the option of keeping silent or leaving the meeting. Inform the union at once and memorialize in writing management’s denial of your Weingarten rights.

When you meet with the administration and the union representative, the administration must afford you certain privileges.

  1. The administration must inform the union representative of the subject of the meeting.
  2. The union representative must be given adequate opportunity for the representative to take you aside for a consultation before the meeting.
  3. During the meeting, the representative has the right to interrupt to clarify confusing questions or to end intimidation.
  4. The union may give you advice on how to answer any question.
  5. The union may add information at the end of the meeting to support your position.

US law says that exercising these rights and securing appropriate union representation rest solely with you. The administration is under no obligation to read you your Weingarten Rights. You must initiate these rights to enjoy the protections which are yours by law.

If you believe you may need to exercise your Weingarten rights, or if you have any questions at all, please contact a CLC-AFO representative.

More information

An employee has Weingarten rights as soon as he or she is represented by the union. Since our election was certified in the summer of 2005, any adjunct with more than three semesters of experience at CLC has been represented by a union. You’ve had Weingarten rights during that period, and you have Weingarten rights regardless of our progress on the first contract with CLC. However, the contract we ratify may include broader rights than the statute provides. It will be important to know the contract, and union representatives will help you learn its protections.

In many unions, new employees receive a small card for union members to carry. There are not “magic words” for Weingarten rights, but you may wonder how to articulate your rights under the law. Here’s an example.

Weingarten Declaration
“If the discussion I am being asked to enter into could in any way lead to my discipline or termination or impact my personal working conditions, I ask that a Union steward, representative or officer be present at this hearing. Unless I have a Union representative, I respectfully choose not to participate in this discussion.”

You have a number of other rights at work, due to federal law, state law, and your status as a member of an organized bargaining unit (i.e. a union). We’ll provide detailed information on those specific rights as we can. In the meantime, if you wonder whether you have a particular right, please be sure to talk with an officer or some other union representative. Rights are meaningless unless we know them and exercise them!


We cannot vouch for the information available outside this website. For example, the information may be intended for military servicepersons, for private employees or for different kinds of unions. Nevertheless, you may find the information useful. The union suggests that you consult a union representative before taking action based on outside information.