To: All Bargaining Unit Employees,
The Union has reason to believe that several bargaining unit employees will be interviewed as part of an investigation regarding work situations in the fire department. The answers provided by you or others may result in disciplinary actions against yourself or other bargaining unit members.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, I URGE EACH PERSON CALLED TO NOTIFY THE PERSON DIRECTING TO THE INVESTIGATIVE THAT YOU ARE EXERCISING YOU RIGHT TO REQUEST UNION REPRESENTATION. You only have to make the request and share that you are in fear of an adverse action resulting from your participation. (This is similar to your MIRANDA rights in criminal matters) This is for your protection.
As part of this investigation you may be required to give written statements during the interviews. Generally, you must attend these meetings (administrative investigations) and you must fully cooperate and answer any questions truthfully.
To help prepare you, here are a few comments about the interviews to answer questions that you may have:
1. You should ASK, with a Union Rep present, to be advised about the purpose of the meeting so you fully understand the scope of the investigation and purpose of the questions. Before starting, You should ASK what are the rules governing confidentiality and understand them completely.
2. Although you must participate in the investigation, the interview should NOT be coercive in nature.
3. You may only refuse to answer questions and/or be entitled to union representation IF the investigation may possibly lead to criminal conduct
against you, in which case you may invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent unless you are granted immunity.
4. You should request union representation. Since the topics or results may result in disciplinary action being taken by the agency against you, you should not take this type of interview lightly. Your future career could depend upon the results of this investigation.
5. You are entitled to union representation EVEN IF the investigation concerns any grievance, personnel practices or general conditions of
employment. Generally, any discussion about what happens in the workplace involved general conditions of employment.
6. You are protected against reprisals for providing information by the Whistleblower Protection Act.
7. You should ASK for a copy of any written statement that you give during the interview.
8. You may request union representation at anytime during the interview. Once you request representation it is best that you respectfully decline to answer any further questions until representation is present and remain silent.
Please feel free to call me if you have any questions about these interviews or if you wish to have union representation during these interviews. Depending upon advice that the local is seeking, the Union may already have a representative present.
Again, this is a very serious matter and it calls for your complete honesty. Don't try to hide answers or be dishonest in of your responses. Don't speak of things that you do not have first hand knowledge of. Doing so could place your continued employment in jeopardy.
Greg Russell, President