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Representation Rights

University of Washington labor contracts recognize the right of employees to be represented in certain circumstances. Representation is generally provided by a union staff member or a union shop steward.

Common requests for representation include grievances, investigations that are likely to lead to discipline, and formal discipline including dismissal. In each case, an employee should be provided with sufficient notice to allow for attendance of the representative. The representative’s availability should not unduly delay the process; if the chosen representative is not available within a reasonable time an alternate representative should be chosen. The question of reasonableness can vary case-by-case, and guidance is available from Labor Relations or a Human Resources Consultant.

Designated union stewards are entitled to release time for representation purposes. Such release time is arranged with the steward’s supervisor. If workload prevents release at the designated time, the earliest alternative time should be allowed. Release time encompasses travel and meeting time; it does not include preparation time by the steward and grievant.

In addition to the circumstances noted above, each collective bargaining agreement specifies other instances when release time may be granted. Questions may be directed to Labor Relations at 206-543-6236 or