NEW YORK NURSE: March 2008
Q.: I work in the public sector. My manager has asked me to come to a meeting to discuss a patient care issue that arose during my shift. I’m not sure what’s going to happen at the meeting and I’d like to bring a union representative with me. Do I have the right to bring the union rep?
A.: Yes, nurses working in the public sector have a right to have a union representative present during an investigatory interview so long as it appears at the time of the interview that it may result in a discipline. Although this has been the case in the private sector since the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, the right had not been as clear-cut in the public sector until the Taylor Law was amended this past summer to explicitly provide for that right. As a result, it is now an improper practice for a public-sector employer to deny an employee the opportunity to have a union representative present during an investigatory interview, if the employee asks for such representation.
The NYSNA EGW Program receives many inquiries each month from members who have problems in their workplaces. If you have a question about labor relations at your facility, contact your NYSNA nursing representative. If you have a question you think should be featured in this column, send it to: RNs at Work, NYSNA, 120 Wall Street, 23rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.