PSE acknowledges that it often uses words and phrases that may be familiar to some but not all. We’ve pulled some of the most commonly used language and included brief definitions of each that we thought might be helpful:
Bargaining Unit/Chapter – A group of employees who are members of a labor union (PSE) designated to represent the membership as a whole in wage and contract negotiations with the school district or university.
Negotiations – A two-way process between an employer (school district or university) and a labor union (PSE). This process determines everything from wages and health benefits to hours and working conditions. The end result of collective bargaining is a legally binding contract that clearly describes employees’ rights and benefits.
Contract – A contract comes as the result of the collective bargaining process. A contract details employment terms and sets out the rights and responsibilities of the employee and his or her employer.
Grievance – One of PSE’s main responsibilities is to make sure all provisions of a contract are followed. If you believe a right or provision in your contract has been violated, contact your field representative, who can advise you about how to proceed with a grievance. Typical grievances may include situations involving seniority, disciplinary action or violations of law, such as workplace safety regulations.
Union Steward/Building Rep – This person is an official within the local chapter. This position is voluntary and elected by local chapter leadership, while also maintaining their regular position as an employee. The building rep serves as a significant link and conduit of information between the PSE leadership and the members of the chapter. This person is charged with ensuring that both the district and PSE employees are adhering to the collective bargaining agreement. He or she may also represent and defend fellow workers in a grievance process.
Weingarten Rights – In 1975, the United States Supreme Court upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that employees have a right to union representation at investigatory interviews. These rights have become known as the Weingarten Rights:
“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 union representative, officer or steward be present at the meeting. Without representation, I will attend the meeting and follow lawful orders, but I choose not to answer any questions.”