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Note: Click on the questions to make the answers appear.

General FAQ

A. It is a constitutional right that protects you, a public employee, when you are forced (coerced) to answer questions or face losing your job when your answers could potentially lead to criminal prosecution.

A. Yes, if it is for internal administrative/discipline purposes. No, in a criminal proceeding. If you give a voluntary written or verbal statement without a Garrity warning or threat of discharge, then your Garrity rights do not attach to your statement.

A. There must be an order to make the statement that includes the threat of discharge if the order is refused. If you give a voluntary written or verbal statement without a Garrity warning or threat of discharge, then your Garrity rights do not attach to your statement.

A. Yes, refusal can be the basis for discipline.

A. Miranda is given when you are a focus of a criminal investigation. You must be advised that you have a right to remain silent. Statements given pursuant to Miranda will be used in a subsequent case. If you are given Miranda rights do not answer questions unless you are specifically advised to do so by your attorney.

A. During Garrity interviews, generally it is customary in many departments, but you must request the presence of an attorney. You do not have the right to an attorney in the so- called Weingarten interview, but you have the right to a union representative, but you must ask for the representation.

A. Perhaps. A Court can order disclosure. Currently a statement can be obtained by a prosecutor under their “investigative subpoena” power. Regardless, the statement cannot be used, like a Miranda statement, against you as evidence in a criminal case. It may, however, be used for impeachment purposes. Garrity statements may also be disclosed during a civil lawsuit.

A. You have a right to union representation during an investigatory interview by administration that you reasonably believe might result in discipline. The belief must be reasonable under the circumstances.

A. Upon notice to report for an interview, ask the employer if the answers to the questions could result in discipline, and if so, ask that you have a union representative present. There is no right to an attorney, but you have a right to consult with a union representative prior to answering questions. You have a right to have a union representative present during the interview.

A. No, the Polygraph Protection Act provides that an employer cannot request or require an employee or job applicant to take a polygraph test. However, in a criminal investigation your department may request one but cannot force you to take the test. The refusal, according to the Act can be made known to the prosecuting attorney.

Right to Work FAQ

A.  The laws went into effect March 27, 2013, but would not apply to individual employers and their bargaining units until a collective bargaining agreement expires, or is renewed, extended or revised by the parties on or after March 27, 2013.  If a contract is renewed or extended prior to March 27, 2013 the law will not apply until expiration of the new agreement.  The law does not apply to 312 eligible units.

A. Generally speaking unions must provide the same benefits to workers regardless of whether they are dues-paying union members. In other words, an employee in a unionized workplace can’t be offered a different wage or be subject to different working conditions based on whether he or she pays dues.

A. No. Non-dues-paying employees may not take part in the ratification portion of the collective bargaining process nor may they vote-upon or assume leadership positions within a union.  The laws do not force the union to give membership rights or eligibility for members-only benefits, to nonpayers.  Union meetings are not open to the public and non-dues-paying employees.

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission has steadfastly refused to interject itself in judgment over agreements made by employers and unions, despite frequent challenges by disgruntled employees.  The fact that an individual member is dissatisfied with the union’s efforts or ultimate decision is insufficient to constitute a breach of the duty of fair representation.  A union has the legal discretion to make judgments about the general good of the employees it represents and to proceed on such judgments, despite the fact they may conflict with the desires or interests of certain employees.

A. No. If a union is recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of a group of employees, regardless of whether or not they financially support it, then the union owes each of those employees a “duty of fair representation” under the PERA.   Non-dues paying employees can’t negotiate their own wages and benefits.

A. Yes.  All employees, whether paying dues or not, are covered by the collective bargaining agreement.  In general, any alleged violation of the agreement is grounds for a grievance.  The Union has the right to file a grievance over the interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement for all employees covered by that agreement. Because the union’s ultimate duty is toward the membership as a whole, a union may consider such factors as the burden on the contractual machinery, the cost, the likelihood of success in arbitration and other relevant considerations when deciding whether to advance a grievance to arbitration.  To this end, a union is not required to follow the dictates of the individual grievant, but rather it may investigate and present, or not present, the case in the manner the union determines to be the best.  The union’s actions will be held lawful as long as they are not so far outside a wide range of reasonableness as to be irrational.

A. The RTW law will require you to modify the language in the Agency Shop or Union Dues section of your contract. Any language making it “a condition of employment” for an employee to pay money to a union will need to be removed from the contract.

A. Yes. However, the amendments prohibit anyone from using force, intimidation or unlawful threats to compel or attempt to compel an employee to become or remain a member of a union, or to pay union dues, fees, assessments or other charges or expenses or provide anything of value to a union, or to make a charitable contribution in lieu of the above.