Know Your Rights
Your Right to Representation
Being a UFCW 951 union member means you have the right to representation during any conversation with management that you think will lead to disciplinary action or termination, or adversely affect your working conditions. By exercising this right to representation, also known as your Weingarten Rights, you can demand representation by a union steward or representative who will ensure your rights are not violated and that you aren’t tricked or bullied into making statements.
Your right to representation is not automatic!
You must specifically ask that a steward or union representative be called into the meeting. If a steward is unavailable, do not leave the meeting room, but do remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. Only ask that the meeting be rescheduled for a time when your steward or union representative will be available to represent you.
Here's the statement that could save your job:
“If my responses to your questions could lead to me being disciplined or terminated, or negatively affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request you ask my union representative to be present at this meeting. Until my union representative arrives, I choose not to answer any questions.”
Rights Guaranteed by Your Union Contract
As a UFCW 951 member, you are protected by a legally binding contract that is negotiated with member input and voted on by the members the contract covers. While the specifics of each contract might vary, all UFCW 951 contracts provide members with many benefits, including:
Guaranteed Wage Increases
Without a union contract, you are not guaranteed wage increases. Who receives a raise, and the amount of that raise, becomes strictly a management decision. You could go years without a raise or get a pay cut. Without your contract, management has the right to reduce your pay rate at any time, for any reason.
Paid Breaks and Lunches
By law, only minors are required to be given breaks. There is nothing besides your union contract that prevents your employer from forcing you to work your entire shift without a break or lunch, paid or unpaid.
Daily Overtime Pay
Legally, your employer must pay you overtime only when you work over 40 hours in a week. It is your union contract that requires your employer to give you daily overtime. (DC units with Activity Based Pay do not receive overtime while participating in the ABP program.) Please see the contract for your employer for specific language related to daily overtime pay.
Without your union contract, you have no guarantee of hours – daily or weekly. Plus, your employer can change your schedule at any time during the week, if they post a schedule at all.
Access to Affordable HealthcareYour union contract includes access to quality, affordable health care for you and your family that includes everything from regular preventative services to care in a crisis that you don’t control.
Just Cause for Termination
Michigan is an employment-at-will state. This means that without the “just cause” provision in your union contract, you could be terminated for any reason or no reason at all.
Your contract also establishes a grievance procedure – the process used to correct violations of your contractual rights by management. Learn more about the grievance procedure by clicking on File a Grievance in the Resources menu. Copies of your contract are available from your union stewards, your union representative, or the union office by calling 1.800.999.0951.