Who do you call?

Personal contact information, full names, home addresses etc., should never be exposed publicly online due to cybersecurity risks.  Only in-person meetings avoid this. Council 5  staffs their MAC answerline, at the number below.  If a member has shied away from sharing personal contact information, never tried to meet or know a rep or offficer, options are limited. Every election, Local 695 is required by contract to issue an officer shingle for District 1 listing current officers and their daytime work numbers, but not personal numbers.

Council 5 (single main point for initiating union contact):
    SSP-C5-MAC 651-450-4990, (1-800-652-9791)
    Hermantown-C5-NE: 218-722-0577 (forwards to SSP-C5-MAC)
Local 695 Email contacts: 
    Working hours 695 officer voice/SMStext contact info
is available online at: 

Defending the contract, for everyone, efficiently maintains ammunition necessary to protect individual members. 

Under AFSCME State contract, members who've been reported or surveilled because of some incident or a possible policy violation that happened on their watch may be called to face questions. Should investigative questioning target a individual, that person is the only one who can "lawyer up" by asserting Weingarten rights which stop everything to verbally request representation by the AFSCME Local 695 Local Steward and/or a Council 5 Field Rep.

If questions that cast suspicion on an employee are not promptly resolved, with matters closed within a couple of weeks, long quiet lulls could be stalling to run past hard deadlines in preparation to drop the hammer hard - after it is too late to matter. When "work in progress", shedule conflicts or any other "business needs" excuse prevents or postpones arriving at a timely, conclusive outcome, this is a red flag. The drop-dead time limit to file a grievance (AFSCME's State contract!) is 21 days and this clock starts ticking following date of event, accident, violation or incident. 

Some investigations, some questions or issues, do not lead to discipline. When the employer opens and starts fishing with some false or implausible version of events, or clearly has drifted off-contract about deciding who deserves raises or overtime, this needs a quick, affirmative and official union response. Grievances, or arbitrations, can go on a long time, but members only have 21 days to ponder about requesting representation, investigation or not, to take action that would make them  whole. Here is a link how uncertain things got when more than 21 days passed after AFSCME members, but not other unions, were excluded from a pay raise:
Example when a grievance filing is late

Public employees in Minnesota have rights, under law, to hear what its about in front of a  Local union Steward or AFSCME field representative trained to maintain airtight confidentiality.  Representation allows an experienced Local union official to hear real reasons for a meeting, someone who knows what and when to interrupt in lines of questions, i.e. impermissible, discriminatory questions or omission of crucial extenuating circumstances about exactly what is alleged to have happened where and when by who and why.

In meetings where employees must explain themselves to any employer representative for any reason and disciplinary action or termination is believed to be forthcoming, it is at that point the employee is the only one who can act by asking to invoke Weingarten Rights for union representation. This duty, on the employee, is triggered by a gut-felt sense the employers point of view about an event or infraction is turning 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 release form to waive Weingarten rights. At Local 695, review of 185 investigations over 24 months showed odds of being dismissed were raised by signing a waiver. One in four who signed away their rights did leave state service, but if a waiver was not signed, fewer (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.Final outcomes on arbitrated grievances are published on-line with fully detailed open-access.

Examples of MnDOT waivers/warnings

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.  

Disclaimer: Information provided here covering when, why and how rights can or should be asserted by union members does not constitute appropriate, case-related legal advice of a trained union steward or advice of counsel.

Weingarten Decision and the Right to Representation on the Job