You’re taking an important first step by getting educated about what a grievance is and preparing for the process before an issue arises. It is important to understand your contract’s grievance procedure and the timelines that apply before a grievance occurs. Every contract has a grievance procedure that outlines timelines and steps that must be followed when filing a grievance. If the timelines or steps are not followed, the grievance may be deemed invalid regardless of merit. So it is important to understand the timelines and steps that “apply in your contract”. Your contract will spell out the terms of the grievance procedure your union has negotiated.
Grievance procedures escalate in “steps” from early discussions with first line supervisors all the way up to full-fledged arbitrations, with specific time limits assigned to each step. You must try to meet the requirements of each step within the specified time limits. If you fail to do so, without proper cause, you could lose the grievance on a technicality.
Typically, the progression of a grievance goes something like this:
- STEP 1- Steward meets with first line supervisor
- STEP 2- If no solution at step-1, the grievance moves to Area Manager lvl
- STEP 3- If no solution at step-2, the grievance moves to company Labor representative, if not resolved at this level the Union may decide to send in an arbitration request to district…
- Arbitration: Where nobody wants to be, but the problem will get settled here by a neutral third party. The decision to go to arbitration will not be made lightly. It will depend on such things as importance of the issue, severity of the case, cost, and chances of winning. Your investigation, notes, and reports will become really important when such decisions have to be made by International District.