Decisions B101/2003 To Present
1123 Arbitration Information
1133's Arbitrations of the Collective Agreement

The Grievance Procedure
The Steward & Grievance Procedure

What is a grievance?

The term grievance refers to a written statement made according to the grievance procedure included in the collective agreement. It deals with any dispute concerning the interpretation, the application, the administration or the alleged violation of any clause of the collective agreement.

The purpose of the grievance procedure

The five steps of our grievance procedure

All of the related time constraints at these steps are listed in the contract book, but by mutual agreement by the Company and the Union, these time periods may be extended.

The Grievance Investigation

Gather the facts from the member who has a complaint. The steward must listen closely to the member who comes with a problem. Get all the facts. Make sure you give the member enough time to give all the relevant information.

At times, a member takes it for granted that you know his or her work well and forgets to tell you important details. To avoid this, follow the five W's method.

The investigation form

  Whenever you collect information, use the required investigation form. Why?

Is the grievance well-founded?

It is best to have a thorough discussion with the member before determining whether the grievance is well founded. If in doubt, consult other stewards as well as union leaders. They can help you make a decision.

Do not proceed with grievances that are not well founded. A member may believe he or she has a grievance because of a misunderstanding of the collective agreement. Personality conflicts or a misreading of the collective agreement are not legitimate grievances.

Agreeing to lodge this type of grievance may mislead the member and undermine your credibility with the employer. If you are sure that there isn't a valid grievance, tell the member, explain why and show him or her the section of the collective agreement that supports your argument. Be firm but be tactful in order to keep the member's trust.

The wording of the grievance

Once you have determined that your are dealing with a legitimate grievance, make sure to word it properly. Here are the steps to follow:

Should the member attend the grievance hearing?

Always take the member with you in the first step of the grievance procedure, except in special circumstances, eg. if a member threatens to physically attack the supervisor.

If you go to see management alone, the member may believe that the grievance was not presented properly and could end up blaming you unjustly. Together, you can present a better-prepared and more detailed case. Before meeting with the employer, the member should be warned that the steward will talk on his or her behalf. The member should only respond to questions that are asked by the steward.

Discourage members from presenting grievances on their own. A member who is not familiar with the collective agreement could be easily influenced and decide to drop the grievance or accept a settlement that would weaken the collective agreement.

In Summary

We would like to thank David Cope and Local 456 for allowing us to use this material, and to link to their shop steward page.