The Time to File a Grievance:
File a grievance whenever your employer violates a provision of the contract. Check your contract and/or contact your rep or shop steward.
Grievances mostly deal with contract violations. “When your problem doesn’t meet the definition of a grievance, it doesn’t mean you can’t take action—you, your steward, other workers in your shop and the union together can organize and pressure the employer.”
When the problem involved relates to the contract you should definitely file a grievance.
First step is to take a written account of the grievance to the immediate supervisor or department head.
A grievance must be initiated within a certain number of days from when the event occurred that is being grieved; check your contract to make sure you know the deadlines that apply in your case. This step involves the member, the steward and immediate management. Management has a certain number of days to respond to the grievance. If they do not respond in that time frame, or if the member or the union is not satisfied with the response at this level, the grievance proceeds to the next step.
A next step involves taking the case to higher levels of management. At this step, the staff rep usually gets involved. A hearing may be held, and witnesses may be called. Again, there is a specific number of days in which management must respond. If the member or the union is not satisfied, they may appeal the decision to the next step. Here, too, you must act within a certain number of days.
A Final Step in a grievance procedure is arbitration. Binding arbitration means that an impartial, outside party hears the case and makes a decision, which the employer, the worker and the union MUST obey. As part of the contract, the union and the employer have agreed in advance on individuals who will serve as arbiters.
Why filing a grievance is important…
Sometimes union members know the employer is violating the contract but they are hesitant to file a grievance because they think it’s no big deal or they don’t want to get in trouble. But contract violations are a big deal! And it’s your right to grieve them; your boss cannot retaliate against you for filing a grievance. Whenever we let an employer violate the contract without challenging him, we are weakening the contract for all members—it sends a message that we will not enforce the contract. When we file grievances, we let employers know that we take the contract seriously and we will make them take it seriously, too. Sometimes, just knowing union members will enforce their rights acts as a deterrent, and management will think twice before violating the contract.”
(Info above from the following article:http://www.local2627.org/Grievances.html)
- If you have trouble document everything related to the problem.
- Grievances can actually encompass just about any issue related to conditions of employment.
- Purposes of a grievance: Protects the contract and the bargaining unit. A remedy for the affected individual. The remedy may be in the form of a promotion, lost wages, reassignment, detail, or some other method of making the aggrieved party “whole.”
- Know your timelines…check your contract.
- Individual grievances: initiated by the employee/union. This is where the individual employee seeks a settlement specific to him or the union seeks a settlement on the employee’s behalf.
- Group grievances: initiated by the employee/union, but where other employees indicate by signature that they desire the same settlement.
- Union or policy grievances: where the subject matter, the grievance is of general interest and where individual employees may or may not be effected at the time of the grievance
Know Your Weingarten Rights
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|Weingarten RightsIf this discussion could in any way lead to
my being disciplined or terminated, or affect
my personal working conditions, I respectfully request
that my union representative, officer, or steward be
present at this meeting. Until my representative
arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.
(This is my right under a Supreme Court Decision called Weingarten).