Weingarten rights are the rights a union member has to, upon request, have a union representative present during an employer’s investigatory interview that may lead to disciplinary action. For nearly thirty years Weingarten rights only applied to employees who worked at employers that had been organized by unions.
In July 2004 a primarily Democratically appointed National Labor Relations Board extended Weingarten rights to employees working for private, unorganized employers. In July 2004, a Republican appointed majority of the Board reversed its position and held that private employees not represented by a union do not have Weingarten rights. Now that the Democrats occupy the White House, are Weingarten rights on the horizon for non-organized employers?
The Board is currently comprised of two members –one appointed by President Bush and one by President Obama. With three open vacancies, President Obama can appoint a majority of the Board. Thereafter, with a Democratically appointed majority of the Board it is predicted that Regional Directors will once again begin accepting unfair labor practice charges by employees of non-organized employers who have been denied Weingarten rights. As those cases once again reach the Board level, I think it is likely that Weingarten rights will again apply to non-unionized employers.