Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Get Your 'Vote Hands' Ready: National Voter Registration Day

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Get Your 'Vote Hands' Ready: National Voter Registration Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No On Prop 32 TV Ad

Ronnie --

When he thought the cameras were off, this is what Mitt Romney told a group of wealthy donors he really thinks about half of America:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what.All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what...These are people who pay no income tax...

"My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Think about that for a second. A man who is running for president of the United States thinks that half of all Americans aren't worth his effort or time -- that they see themselves as victims, and don't take responsibility for their lives.
click here for youtube video)

Putting aside the factual inaccuracies in that statement, think about how badly he's misjudged the character of this nation. This man should not be president.

Pitch in $5 or more today to help us fight.

This is the kind of mentality that President Obama and Democrats across the country are up against. We believe that every American deserves a fair shot -- no matter where they come from or who their parents are.

And you know what? It is the job of the president to worry about every American, no matter whether they voted for him or not.

I can't stomach the thought of Mitt Romney and Republicans who think like he does winning in 49 days. But we've got a tough road ahead of us, and we need your help to fight back.

Donate $5 or more today to give President Obama and Democrats the resources they need to win on Election Day:




Patrick Gaspard
Executive Director
Democratic National Committee

Friday, September 07, 2012

Teamster Local 572 will be holding it's Annual Meeting and has invited GCC/IBT Local 140-N members to attend. Interlocal Pension Fund Chairman, John Agenbroad will give a presentation on the Fund. If you participate in the ILPF I encourage you to attend. All the details are included in the flyer below.
Thanks, Brother Doug Brown
572 Annual Meeting Notice

Monday, September 03, 2012

Know your rights ! DISCIPLINE



NLRA – Section 7:

"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection"

NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251 (1975):

The employer violated [Section] 8 (a) (1) of the National Labor Relations Act because it interfered with, restrained, and coerced the individual right of an employee, protected by [Section] 7, "to engage in … concerted activities for … mutual aid or protection," when it denied the employee's request for the presence of her union representative at the investigatory interview that the employee reasonably believed would result in disciplinary action.
Weingarten Rights. Most union members have heard this term. Many shop stewards have the right to protect their members because of it. But what is the origin of these rights? What lies behind one of the most significant labor law rulings in recent history? For thirty years, Weingarten has been an often-used word in the vocabulary of union advocates.

Here is the story:

J. Weingarten, Inc. operated a large chain of convenient stores, several of which allowed customers to purchase packaged meals. In June 1972, Ms. Leura Collins, a lunch-counter clerk at Store No. 98 in Houston, Texas, was called into the manager's office and interrogated by her manager and a loss prevention investigator employed by the store. Unknown to Ms. Collins, this investigator had been observing her for the past two days on the basis of a report that she was stealing from the register. Although this particular investigation uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing on Ms. Collins' part, another manager learned (from a coworker) that she "had purchased a [$2.98] box of chicken … but had placed only $1.00 in the cash register."
During the interview, Ms. Collins, a member of Retail Clerks Local Union No. 455, requested several times that her steward or another union representative be present. When questioned about the chicken, Ms. Collins replied that she only took a dollar's worth, but was forced to use a large-size box since the small ones were not available. The investigator went to confirm this; upon his return he "told Collins that her explanation had checked out [and] that he was sorry if he had inconvenienced her, and that the matter was closed."
It was at this point that Ms. Collins finally broke down, exclaiming that the only thing the company ever gave her was a free lunch. Hearing this, the manager and the investigator were surprised, since Store No. 98 had no such policy. Once again Ms. Collins was interrogated, once again she requested representation and once again it was denied. The investigator then asked her to sign a statement that claimed she owed the company $160 for those "free" lunches. She refused. In Store No.2, where she had previously worked [1961-1970], free lunches were policy. It was later learned that other J. Weingarten employees, including the manager, took "free" lunches, since the company had no official policy that forbade it, a fact confirmed to the investigator who then ended the interview.
Upon leaving, Ms. Collins was asked by the manager "not to discuss the matter with anyone because he considered it a private matter between her and the company [and] of no concern to others." However, Ms. Collins reported this incident to her union and an unfair labor charge was filed.

The Purpose

One vital function of the steward is to prevent an employer from coercing or intimidating employees into confessing misconduct, especially in situations where the supervisor (or any other employer representative) engages in interrogatory techniques.
The NLRA protects union concerted activities, which includes a member's right to request union representation during investigatory interviews. This right was recognized in 1975 with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in NLRB v. J. Weingarten. (420 U.S. 251)* and became known as a member's Weingarten Right.
*Note: This opinion was delivered by Justice William Brennan and was joined by Justices Douglas, White, Marshall, Blackmun and Rehnquist [the current Chief Justice]. The dissenting opinion was filed by Chief Justice Warren Burger and joined by Justice Powell.
A lone employee, confronted by the employer's investigation and the possibility of discipline, may be either too afraid to face accusations, too inarticulate to accurately explain, or simply to uniformed to raise extenuating factors. A knowledgeable union representative could assist this employee by drawing out favorable facts or applicable mitigating circumstances.
A tangible knowledge of Weingarten is vital, since it allows the steward to:
  • Serve as a (non-silent) witness to this interview
  • Contradict a supervisor's possibly false account of said interview
  • Prevent intimidating tactics or confusing questions by supervisor
  • Prevent the member from making self-incriminating statements or admissions
  • Advise the member, under certain circumstances, to deny everything
  • Warn the member about losing his or her temper
  • Discourage the member from informing on others, i.e., co-workers
  • Identify any extenuating or mitigating factors that could benefit the member

The Investigatory Interview

Weingarten Rights can be invoked ONLY in an investigatory interview, which occurs when:
  • Employer Representatives (Supervisor, Manager, et. al.) question an employee about specific conduct or to obtain information that could be used as a basis for discipline.
  • As a result of the above, the employee has a reasonable belief that the interview could result in discipline or some other adverse consequence. Example: an employee being questioned about an accident would be justified in fearing that he or she might be blamed. 
Of course, not every interaction between employee and supervisor is an investigatory interview; for example, a supervisor speaking to a subordinate about a particular job performance. While the supervisor may no doubt question the worker about his or her performance, the likelihood of discipline is not the issue. Both parties are merely engaged in a work-related conversation – there is no investigation.
However, this workshop conversation could suddenly acquire an entirely different demeanor should the supervisor becomes hostile or the questioning turns into suspicion. In this case, any employee may become fearful; at this point would require union representation.
Yet, when a supervisor (or any agent of the employer) calls an employee into the office to warn, reprimand or impose discipline already decided, this is not – according to the NLRB* – an investigatory interview, since employee conduct is not being questioned, but rather has been observed and is being acted upon.
* Baton Rouge Water Works, 246 NLRB 995 (1979)

Educating Members

Unlike Miranda, another landmark Supreme Court case, Weingarten does not require notice at the time of questioning – or, in this case, an investigatory interview. This means that the Employer is not required to inform the employee that he or she has a right to Union representation. For the union and the steward, this means educating their membership by explaining these rights. Many local union contracts contain Weingarten in their language, such as this example:
The employer recognizes the employee's right to be given representation by a steward, or a designated alternate, at any investigatory interview. The employer will remind the employee of this right at the time that the employer requests the investigatory interview.
Many local unions provide their members with wallet-sized cards that read:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.

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