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Grievance & Grievance Management

Definition Objectives Benefits of early settlement Grievance process Handling grievance Discipline procedure Arbitration summary

Grievance Definition
Definitions HR: Specific complaint or formal notice of employee dissatisfaction related to adequacy of pay, job requirements, work conditions, other aspects of employment, or an alleged violation of a collective bargaining agreement. An actual or supposed circumstance regarded as just cause for complaint. A complaint or protestation based on such a circumstance. Law: (1) Injury, injustice, or wrong that affords reason for resistance or a formal expression as a complaint. (2) The complaint itself.

The Purpose of the Grievance Procedure How to Prevent a Grievance Grievance Timelines Benefits of Early Settlement Steps in the Grievance Process Preparing for a Grievance Conducting the Grievance Meeting Preparing the Grievance Response Preparing for the Grievance Meeting with Employee/Labor Relations

Purpose of the Grievance Procedure

Allow union members to appeal decisions and resolve problems Allow employees to voice concerns regarding: Interpretation of Agreement Application of Agreement Compliance with Agreement Corrective Action Past Practice
Mutuality (known by both parties) Consistency Bridge Effect (more than one contract) The contract is silent (practice cannot contradict contract)

Keep lines of communication open

How to Prevent a Grievance

Identify potential causes Correct problems promptly Encourage corrective suggestions Establish and reaffirm policies and work rules Communicate and give advance notice of changes Keep employees informed of their progress Be objective Learn to listen Be consistent

If you Receive an Employee Grievance

First and foremost Dont panic! Hold your temper! Take charge! Consider the possibility of early settlement

Grievance Timelines
Refer to the appropriate union contract article/section titled Grievance Procedure for the applicable time limits for receiving and responding to grievances.
Also note: Any grievance not answered within the time limits specified shall be submitted to the next step (Union). Any grievance not appealed to the next succeeding step in writing within the time limits specified will be considered withdrawn and not eligible for further appeal (Management).

Benefits of Early Settlement

At any point during the grievance process, the parties can agree to an early settlement. The benefits include: Quick resolution Employee frustration avoided Supervisor/Steward credibility Union/University credibility Respect of employees gained Prolonged conflict avoided Local control maintained

Grievance Management
Indication of employee dissatisfaction

A complaint formally stated in writing

Grievance Procedures
Formal channels of communications used to resolve grievances. Union representation (Weingarten) rights

Steps in a Grievance Procedure

Figure 1712

Typical HR Responsibilities: Grievance Management

Figure 1711

Factors Leading to Employee Unionization

Figure 171

Nature of Unions
A formal association of workers that promotes the interests of its members through collective action.

State of U.S. Unions

Focused on economic issueswages, benefits, job security, and working conditions. Organized by kind of job and employer. Seek multi-year collective agreements on economic issues as contracts. Maintain competitive relations with management.

Typical Division of HR Responsibilities: Labor Relations

Figure 172

Steps in the Grievance Process

The number of steps in the grievance process differ according to the union involved, but each contain the following: Oral Grievance Written Grievance Grievance Advanced to Employee/Labor Relations Arbitration

Steps in the Grievance Process

Employee presents oral grievance to immediate supervisor within timeframe specified in Agreement. Employee may request presence of union steward during discussion. Supervisor provides written response to the oral grievance within timeframe specified in Agreement.

Steps in the Grievance Process

If the oral grievance is not satisfactorily adjusted: The area steward can submit the grievance in writing to the department head (or designated representative) on a standard grievance form signed by the employee. The grievance must be submitted in writing within the timeframe specified in the Agreement. The department will arrange a grievance meeting between the department head (or designated representative) and the grievant, the steward, and/or Business Agent of the union. The Department shall submit a written response to the grievance within timeframe specified in Agreement.

Steps in the Grievance Process

If the matter is not satisfactorily adjusted in the previous (written) step, or an answer is not given within the time specified: The written grievance previously submitted shall be forwarded to Employee/Labor Relations within the timeframe specified in the Agreement. Employee/Labor Relations will arrange a grievance hearing meeting with the union staff representative, the aggrieved employee and management. Employee/Labor Relations will arrange a meeting prior to the actual grievance hearing for the purpose of preparation (management). Employee/Labor Relations shall reply to the grievance within the timeframe specified in the Agreement.

Preparing for a Grievance

Investigate the complaint and organize the case before the meeting by determining the following:
Who is involved? Where did the situation occur? When did the incident occur? Why did the situation occur? What are the circumstances? What was the impact to the operation/business as a result of the situation/incident? What remedy is the grievant seeking?

Conducting the Grievance Meeting

Discuss the matter rationally:
Review the grievance with the grievant and the representative. Do not bargain with the grievant or the steward. Be certain that you have all of the information you need before responding. Do not respond to a demand for an instant answer. A possible exception is a matter of health and/or safety.

Preparing the Grievance Response

Adhere to the timeline for your response. Provide an answer that is concise and complete. Brevity is important. If you need help in providing an answer, obtain assistance from Employee/Labor Relations. Obtain acknowledgement of receipt of your answer from the grievant/steward, including time and date.

Preparing for Grievance Meeting with Employee/Labor Relations

Employee/Labor Relations will facilitate the process at this step. The process includes: Schedule prep meeting with the department/management before the date of grievance meeting. Serve as hearing officer. Determine who should be involved in the meeting, including identifying any witnesses. Determine what information must be captured on record. Discuss the format of the grievance meeting. Provide written response.

If the matter is not satisfactorily adjusted in the previous step (Employee/Labor Relations), or an answer is not given within the time specified, the union may, by written notice, request the grievance be advanced to an arbitrator.
Arbitration is a method of settling disputes through an impartial third party whose decision is final and binding.

Handling Grievance & Discipline Procedures

Handling Grievance
ensure you're familiar with the procedure and apply it correctly hold any grievance hearing in private without interruptions where a grievance relates to the person's line manager, ensure that the employee can raise the grievance with someone else listen carefully to the person's explanation of the problem and consider whether there is a deeper issue which might be the root cause of the grievance listen to any conflicting points of view

weigh up all evidence to see whether there is an issue you need to address decide what action to take, trying to balance fairness to the person without compromising the business or other workers inform all concerned parties of your decision and the appeal process ensure you resolve any problems relating to policies, procedures or conduct where the grievance procedure highlights these keep the process as confidential as possible

The Disciplinary Procedure

be in writing specify who is covered be non-discriminatory provide that matters will be dealt with promptly state that proceedings, witness statements and records will be confidential indicate the disciplinary actions that may be taken specify who has the authority to take each form of disciplinary action

say that the workers will be informed about complaints and any evidence before the hearing state that workers can state their case before a decision is made provide the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union official ensure that, except for gross misconduct, no worker is dismissed for a first breach of discipline ensure the case be investigated before any action ensure that all penalties are fully explained set out the rights and procedures for appeal

Preparing for the Arbitration Hearing: Once an Arbitration hearing date has been determined, the department will meet with Employee/Labor Relations and the Universitys legal representative to fully prep for the hearing. The Universitys legal representatives lead the Arbitration process.

The Arbitration Hearing: The Union presents their case first if it is a non-disciplinary matter. Otherwise, the Employer goes first. The burden of proof is on the Union for all issues except discipline. Otherwise, the burden is on the Employer.

Arbitration as a last resort: A quasi-judicial process Gives arbitrator power to issue a decision/award which may result in:
a win-lose situation an Arbitrator-crafted decision

Parties lose control of dispute resolution Costly

MANAGING THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS, Kathy Irving, Employee/Labor Relations, web article. http://www.is4profit.com/businessadvice/employment/handling-grievance-and-disciplineprocedures/the-disciplinary-procedure.html