Unionized government workers in Texas — including firefighters, police and teachers — don’t have the right to be accompanied by a union representative while being questioned during internal investigations, a divided Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Such representation is a basic right for unionized private sector and federal government employees.

But in a case begun by a Round Rock firefighter disciplined in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that state labor law doesn’t specifically confer a similar right to workers employed by state, county, city or local governments in Texas.
“It puts all the rights into management’s hands,” said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, which represents 3,000 Austin school district employees.

Workers have the right to be accompanied by a union representative during grievance and removal proceedings, but they also could benefit from help while being interviewed during internal investigations, he said.
State Supreme Court limits union rights in Texas | www.statesman.com