You should know that union members still enjoy legal rights even though GTEA’s collective bargaining rights have been weakened. It’s important for you to understand these rights so you’re prepared if an incident arises.
First, union members have the right to union representation at any time they have reason to believe a meeting with administration could lead to discipline. Known as Weingarten Rights, these rights entitle union members to:
- Request that a union representative be present during the investigatory meeting
- Request that such a meeting be postponed until a union representative can attend.
However, administration retains the right to mandate that we attend meetings, even if union representation cannot be present.
If administration insists upon questioning a union member without union representation during an investigatory meeting, then it has committed an unfair labor practice and is open for legal action.
In the meantime, though, employees need to protect their rights. If employees find themselves unrepresented in any meeting that could lead to discipline, then they are legally entitled to remain silent at the meeting. A standard response: “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 GTEA Representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”
In a meeting that could lead to disciplinary action where the request for representation has been denied, the employee legally cannot be disciplined by administration for refusal to respond to questioning.
However, administration may require an employee to attend a disciplinary meeting without a union representative present. This type of meeting, held after an investigatory meeting has been completed, is one at which discipline is handed down to the employee, who is not expected to answer questions or provide additional information.
Union members unsure of whether they need representation should consult their local rep:
Kenosha: Ellen Pedraza, email@example.com;
Racine/iMet: Peter Pham, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Elkhorn/Burlington: Lisa Packard packardlgtea @gmail.com;
All locations: Past President Jay Johnson, 414-699-4529 (cell) or jaypjohnson @gmail.com; President Suzanne Sublette, 773-206-5024 or email@example.com
While GTEA is always interested in hearing the thoughts of both dues paying and non-dues paying bargaining unit members, we cannot represent you in meetings unless you were a dues-paying member at the time of the incident leading to the investigatory meeting. This is yet another reason to join GTEA!
“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 GTEA Representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”
–Sample Weingarten statement
GTEA awards another $500 scholarship
Do you know that GTEA sponsors educational scholarships through the Gateway Foundation?
GTEA funds $500 scholarships for continuing students. Eligibility includes children, step-children, grandchildren, and spouses of GTEA members.
This year’s recipient is Brett Eisch, son of GTEA member Sheri Eisch. The award was presented February 4, 2017, at the annual Gateway Foundation scholarship ceremony.
Other recent GTEA scholarship recipients include family members of Sharon Nelson, Alysia Ruiz, Steve Zambo, and Rosalva Santana.
Application for the GTEA Continuing Student Scholarship process is part of the Gateway Foundation’s single electronic scholarship application form. Based on the applicant’s answers, the system matches the student to the GTEA Scholarship and to any other scholarship for which the student is eligible. Applications are accepted annually during the fall term.
GTEA has offered educational scholarships to family members since 1994.
Dear GTEA Members-
It has just come to the Council’s attention that the college has engaged in potentially illegal actions regarding employee paychecks.
In at least two instances, the college has rescinded the paychecks of employees for “overpayment.” Each case has been different, and the specifics need to be kept confidential. What I can comment on is that in each case, the college has stopped the paychecks of employees from being processed.
Understand that this process is potentially illegal. Public employers can rescind employee earnings for overpayment, but work currently being performed MUST be paid out within 31 days. [This is why typical employer practice regarding employee overpayment includes a repayment plan that slowly recaptures the employer’s loss over time in order to:
1. avoid labor law violations and
2. maintain ethics.
At the very least, employees should be placed on a repayment plan.
GTEA has the power to challenge this on behalf of dues-paying members (this is not something we do for folks who are NOT dues paying members).
We are concerned that other employees are having entire paychecks rescinded
If you have been the victim of this- for any reason- please contactGTEA’s PResident, Ms. Suzanne Sublette, or another GTEA representative IMMEDIATELY.
Suzanne G. Sublette, PhD
President- Gateway Technical Education Association
Member-at-Large- National Council of Higher Education
The next GTEA COR meeting will be on March 24, 2017 at the iMET Center. Dinner will be at 5, with meeting starting immediately after (by 5:30).
I’m Ted Kraig, the Regional Director from WEAC Region 7 who works with the GTEA. I work out of our Brookfield office and also represent employees at Waukesha Tech and Blackhawk Tech. I’ve spent over 20 years in the labor movement representing many different kinds of employees including: teachers, nurses and now college faculty. I help local associations and individual members in many different areas including enforcing legal rights, organizing for better compensation and teaching conditions, and assuring fair treatment in disciplinary and performance matters. Never hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 751-2863.”
GTEA Officers continue to engage in efforts to expand reach and influence.
Jay Johnson and I submitted a conference proposal to the NEA’s upcoming National Leadership Summit. We received notice of approval on October 1! The presentation is entitled What Happens When Collective Bargaining All But Disappears: Trials and Triumphs in Higher Education Organizing Post-Act 10. This presentation and round-table discussion will take place over February 24-26, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.
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The NEA has opened RFP’s for the annual Higher Education Conference. This year, the conference will convene in Dallas, Texas over March 17-19. I will attend with NCHE regardless, but we are encouraged to submit a conference proposal. Expenses and conference registration fees will be paid by the NEA for one presenter per accepted proposal. The theme of the conference is Unite, Inspire, Lead: Strengthening Bridges to Opportunities. All RFP’s must relate to the NEA’s Leadership Competencies and/or Organizational Priorities. See NEA’s site for details. The deadline for RFP submission is November 17, 2016. I strongly encourage folks to attend this conference!
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On behalf of Region 7 and GTEA, Ted Kraig attended the October meeting of the joint AFT/NEA Technical College locals in Wausau on October 8. GTEA has offered to plan and host the next joint meeting- tentatively planned for January, 2017.
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During the October 16 NCHE conference call, I asked for and was granted permission to lead the taskforce on developing and implementing the Friends of Higher Education Award. I am awaiting notice of any specific protocols we must follow and have requested that we change the award title to Friends of Higher Education and Labor. The award will be given to a member of Congress who has a history of – and commitment to – proposing and supporting legislation that supports higher education, labor organizing, and collective bargaining. I am charged with developing a “short list” of legislators, and the NCE Executive Committee will vote and select the awardee from the short list. We will ask the awardee to create a video for Higher Education NEA members as well as attend the NEA Higher Education Conference in Dallas to accept. We are also deciding whether we can create a “red carpet” event (ceremony and cocktail hour, with press) for the Congressperson at NEA Headquarters in DC in Spring 2017.
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I’ve begun to work on a Fair Compensation Model that the “Group of 100” will later collectively present to administration.