A union that has been accorded exclusive recognition at an installation has a duty to fairly represent all employees in the bargaining unit regardless of union membership. Several provisions of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute address the opportunities unions have in representing the bargaining unit employees' interests. For example, the union is able to:
- negotiate with management in good faith concerning conditions of employment for bargaining unit members;
- obtain data normally maintained by management that is reasonably available and necessary to the union for full and proper discussion, understanding, and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining;
- present its views to heads of agencies and other officials of the executive branch of the Government, the Congress, or other appropriate authorities;
- have employees representing the union on official time when negotiating agreements with management; and
- be represented at certain discussions management may have with bargaining unit employees.
For many supervisors, their first dealings with the union will be under this last section -- union representation at employee-management discussions. The law identifies two types of discussions/meetings with employees where the union is afforded an opportunity to be present. These are generally referred to as:
- FORMAL DISCUSSIONS
- EXAMINATION OF EMPLOYEES -- "WEINGARTEN" MEETINGS
These last two meetings will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent sections.