Stronger Together

Know Your Rights FAQ

Everyone wants a smooth working relationship on the job, but problems can arise in any workplace. As an SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH member, you have union protection and rights guaranteed by your contract and also several Supreme Court decisions.

What’s the best way to protect myself?

Read and understand your contract and know who your Delegates are. The contract governs terms and conditions of your employment.

What if I think my contractual rights are being violated?

Remember, obey a supervisory order and then grieve it afterwards. You have the right to file a grievance when management violates a contractual right. 

Talk to your Delegate immediately.

There are strict timelines that apply, so work closely with your Delegate. If management refuses to settle the grievance, the Union may argue your case before an impartial arbitrator who makes the final ruling.


I think I’m in trouble at work – what are my rights?

A 1975 Supreme Court ruling, NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., gives you the RIGHT to have Union representation when you are being investigated at work. If you believe that a conversation with a supervisor could lead to discipline or termination, INSIST on having your Union representative present. These are called Weingarten Rights and it is up to you to demand them.

Follow these steps:

  • Demand Union representation.  You must ask for Union representation before or during any conversation that could lead to discipline. Management does not have to inform you of this right and they cannot punish you for demanding Union representation.
  • After management is told of your desire for representation, they have three options:
    • grant the request and delay questioning until your Union Delegate arrives and (prior to any conversation that could lead to discipline continuing) the Delegate has a chance to consult privately with you; or
    • deny the request and end any conversation that could lead to discipline immediately; or
    • give you the choice between having any conversation that could lead to discipline without a Delegate present, or ending the conversation.
  • Do NOT waive your right to representation!  If you proceed in questioning without representation, you have waived your right to representation, even if you have a good relationship with your supervisor or are innocent, do not waive the right to Union representation. If Management forces you to proceed with any conversation that could lead to discipline after denying your request for representation, you must do your best to answer their questions if they threaten you with discipline for refusing to answer. Do your best to avoid insubordination, and contact your Delegate immediately after the conversation.

Remember, Weingarten Rights do not apply to everyday conversations between members of the Union and supervisors regarding regular job duties or work performance. They only apply to questioning from management that could lead to discipline or termination.