Have you ever looked through your Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? Have you ever filed a grievance against your employer? Did your local union or branch handle the case properly and in a clearly defined step-by-step procedure?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then you may have a problem. It is not to say that you or your union is doing anything wrong, there may just not be a clear definition of how a member (you) should file and track a grievance with the union.
Here are some things you can do to make sure you, as the member, know that your local, branch, district or national has taken all necessary steps to ensure your grievance is managed properly.
- Ask your union rep, steward, or whomever you contact regarding union business for a detailed description of the grievance procedure.
- Carefully read and comprehend your grievance procedure that should be laid out in your collective bargaining agreement.
- When and if you ever do file a grievance, follow up with your steward or union official to ensure your case is following the proper steps to resolution. Remember that there are typically timelines that must be met between each grievance step. If these timelines are not met by the union or management, then your case could be in trouble of dismissal.
- Talk to other members of your local that have filed a grievance and find out from their experiences what went well and what they wish they would’ve done better. Other people’s experiences are always a fantastic resource to use to make sure you do not make mistakes that could be easily avoided.
A great tool that union officials can use within their local or branch is the Internet Grievance System (IGS). Information can be found at http://www.griev.com/