Who do you call?

SSP-C5-MAC 651-450-4990, (1-800-652-9791) is the Council 5 point of contact
AFSCME C5-NE Hermantown office: 218-722-0577 (sometimes forwards to SSP-C5-MAC)
Local Email [email protected] (or see published officer list shingle).
Non-public 695 officer voice/SMS text contact info is available to members online, secured at Council 5 MemberLink: https://members.afscmemn.org/

Defending the contract, for everyone, efficiently maintains ammunition necessary to protect individual members. Final outcomes on arbitrated grievances are published on-line with fully detailed open-access.

Under AFSCME State contract, members who've been surveilled because of an incident or a possible policy violation that happened on their watch may be called to face questions. Anytime an investigation targets an individual, that person is the only one who can assert Weingarten rights and accept representation by AFSCME Local 695 Local Steward (or Officer) and then Council 5 offices at South St. Paul SSP-C5-MAC (Member Action Center)

Questions not resolved within a couple of weeks could be stalling to run out hard deadlines. When work in progress, or other hurdle, prevents or postpones arriving at a conclusive outcome, this is a red flag. The drop-dead limit, in the AFSCME State contract, is 21 days and this clock starts ticking following date of event, accident, violation or incident. 

Public employees in Minnesota have rights, under law, to hear what its about in front of an official Local union or AFSCME field representative (Steward) trained to maintain  airtight confidentiality.  Professionally trained Stewards avoid unnecessary circus spectacle and gossip, particularly when cases are withdrawn for lack of sufficient evidence.  Representation allows a trained, experienced person to hear real reasons for the meeting, someone who knows to interrupt if improprieties emerge in lines of questions, i.e. impermissible questions or factually erroneous assertions about which vehicle was driven where and when doing what and why.

In meetings where employees must explain themselves to any employer representative for any reason, and a belief arises that disciplinary action or termination may be forthcoming, it is at that point the employee must personally act and ask to invoke Weingarten Rights for union representation. This is the duty of a questioned employee who feels the employers point of view about circumstances preceeding an event or infraction has turned much more consequential, ominous, accusatory and prejudiced.  Such meetings need not be formal, any employer-initiated conversation, of any type in any place or at any time, could lead this direction.

An employee being investigated may be offered a chance to sign a release to waive Weingarten rights. At Local 695, review of 185 investigations over 24 months showed odds of being dismissed were raised 1.33x by signing a waiver, meaning one in four left state service.  When a waiver was not signed and representation accepted, only one in five lost their jobs.

Waivers of rights must be "knowing and voluntary", presented in written form with easily understood plain language that does not mislead, exaggerate, omit, or otherwise misstate the benefits or limitations of the agreement. Waivers must include an advisement, in writing, that the employee consult an attorney prior to signing. Employees must have at least 7 days after signing the agreement to revoke it. This period cannot be shortened. Waiver releases may be invalidated with a showing of fraud, duress, undue influence, or improper employer conduct.

Laws differ by state whether Weingarten applies and what triggers it.  In Minnesota, State MMB-HR Policy #1376 defines this point as when a questioned employee believes the interview "may (or could) lead to discipline.

In the 5th edition of research covering Weingarten in California, the authors clarify what Minnesota HR policy does not have to say: Weingarten places all onus on the employee to invoke rights at the point discipline becomes expected.  

Weingarten Decision and the Right to Representation on the Job