First, KEYTA is a professional teachers association, not a union. Teacher unions have exclusive rights, by law, to be the only union bargaining on the employee’s behalf. Since KEYTA is not a union, we can support and represent our members in every school district and public school entity across Pennsylvania. We are not a competing union, and therefore are not excluded from being in a school district establishment. Pennsylvania law state that you cannot have a competing union on the grounds where one union has been established. Pennsylvania laws make no such mention of multiple teacher associations in one establishment.
In the landmark decision of National Labor Relations Board v. Weingarten, 420 U.S. 251 (1975), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the National Labor Relations Act provides a statutory right to members of a bargaining unit to insist on having a representative present at an investigatory interview in which the employee reasonably believes that it could lead to disciplinary action. For this Weingarten right to apply, an employee must have a reasonable belief that he or she will be subject to discipline at or as a result of the meeting.
Essentially, the courts have stated that the right to choose a representative in a Weingarten setting is the right of the individual, not the district or the union. The issue in that case centered not on the existence of the right of representation itself, but on who had the right to select a particular representative. The decision made clear that the member may choose his or her representative and that neither the employer nor the union may make that selection.
There are a myriad of ways in which your right of representation can arise. Many times, your administrator will notify you of your right to bring representation. As soon as you are notified of a meeting at which you are entitled to bring representation, it is important that you contact KEYTA immediately to make arrangements. However, it is not always the case that you are provided advance notice of your right and legally it is your responsibility to exercise that right. Should you find yourself unexpectedly in a disciplinary meeting, you should expressly state that you are requesting representation and ask that the meeting be suspended and rescheduled to permit a KEYTA representative, friend or colleague to be present.
Should you find yourself in a situation that places you in a disciplinary meeting, contact KEYTA immediately at 717-763-1168 or 877-33-KEYTA (53982)