Your rights as a union member

As an employee represented by WFSE/AFSCME, your rights are protected under a U.S. Supreme Court decision called Weingarten.


If you are called into a meeting with a management representative and you have reason to believe that disciplinary action against you may result, you have the right to have a steward present during this meeting. Read the statement below to the management representative, and contact your steward immediately. Read this statement to management:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any question.”

What’s the difference between represented and unrepresented state employees? Union-represented state employees enjoy many benefits because they work in a position that is covered by a WFSE/AFSCME contract. Union-represented employees choose to be either dues-paying members of the union or non-member “fair share” fee payers. Dues-paying members are eligible to participate in the democratic governance of our union. Non-represented state employees are those state employees not covered by a contract.

How do I know if I am represented under a WFSE/AFSCME contract, also called a collective bargaining agreement? If you work in a position that is included in a WFSE/AFSCME bargaining unit (a group of employees where WFSE is their exclusive bargaining representative) you are covered by a bargaining agreement. The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) is charged with determining bargaining units. Your agency’s Human Resource or Payroll representatives can tell you whether your position is in a WFSE bargaining unit. Or contact us.

How can my steward help? Your shop steward is trained to understand the provisions of your contract and help you if you think a violation of the contract has occurred.

How to contact your shop steward: If your steward roster is not posted on your union bulletin board, or a steward is not available to you, contact your local field office. They can help.

What is a grievance? In general, a grievance is an allegation by an employee or group of employees that there’s been a violation of the contract. But the specific definition of a grievance may vary from contract to contract; consult your particular contract for the specific definition that applies to you.

What is the grievance process? There are many ways the union empowers you to resolve problems with your employer. But if those fail and you need to file a grievance, you need representation – someone to prepare and present your case. WFSE/AFSCME’s trained stewards give you that representation. WFSE/ AFSCME has bargained strong grievance procedures to which management must respond promptly and fairly. When you’re part of a strong union, representing the overwhelming majority of workers, your employer has to listen to you.


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