Steward have equal status with management while acting in the capacity of steward, the right to solicit grievances, and the right to active participation in a Weingarten setting.
Once an employee invokes his or her Weingarten rights, and a Steward is brought in, the Steward has a right to assist and counsel the employee.
Management sometimes asserts that the Steward may only be a silent witness. This is wrong. The Steward has the following rights:
When the Steward arrives, the supervisor must inform the Steward of the subject matter of the interview.
The Steward must be allowed to take the employee aside for a private pre-interview conference.
The Steward must be allowed to speak during the interview.
The Steward has the right to request that the supervisor clarify a question so that the employee understands what is being asked.
After a question is asked, the Steward can give advice on how to answer.
When the questioning ends, the Steward can provide additional information to the supervisor.
It should be noted that, if the Weingarten rules are complied with, Stewards do not have the right to tell workers not to answer questions.
Stewards will be most effective if they are knowledgeable about their legal rights as well as their contractual rights. When management violates the legal rights of Stewards, the judicious use of charges against the employer with the NLRB can be effective in educating management about their legal responsibilities.