By Sandy Southivilay

On Feb. 19, 1975, a tremendous Supreme Court decision was upheld in favor of labor unions. The National Labor Relations Board versus J. Weingarten, Inc. case was a huge win for labor. This case held that under the National Labors Relations Act, union employees have the right to the presence of a union steward during an investigatory meeting in which the employee feels would result in discipline.

The dispute began in 1972 when Leura Collins, a lunch-counter clerk at J. Weingarten Store No. 98 and a member of Retail Clerks Union Local 455 (now UNITE HERE), was accused of stealing from the register. Weingarten had hired a loss prevention investigator to observe Leura. The manager at Store No. 98 and the investigator held a meeting with Leura. Leura had requested multiple times that her union representative be present, but she was denied on every account. After proving her innocence, the manager and the investigator had asked Leura to refrain from discussing the matter with anyone else; however, Leura reported the incident to her union and filed an unfair labor charge.

Thanks to Leura and her union, Weingarten Rights were created and now no union employee should never be subjected to unfair labor practices without the representation of their union steward.

Section 7 of the NLRA:

"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection.”

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