Preparation is the key to success in most things we do. Grievance handling is no exception. The outcome of a grievance very often depends on how well the steward prepares ahead of time.
- Review all your evidence; fill in any gaps you discover
- Determine the importance and relevance of each fact and piece of information
- Distinguish between allegations and opinions on the one hand and facts on the other
- Research the local’s grievance file for any past grievances on similar situations
- Discuss the grievance with other stewards or officers to gain their insights on the case
- Write the grievance
- Anticipate management’s arguments, questions and point of view; know how you and the grievant will respond to each of these
All grievance forms contain four main sections that ask for:
- Basic information about the grievant: name, job title or classification, department, work location, etc.
- Information about what happened (or failed to happen) that brought about the grievance.
- A description of what contract provision, work rule, past practice, etc., that management has violated.
- A requested remedy for the grievance.
Here are some basic tips for Stewards that should be used when writing a grievance:
- State the grievance in a concise description of the basic facts and information.
- Don’t include statements of personal opinion.
- Don’t include your evidence or arguments in the case save those for when you meet with management.
- List any and all management violations of the contract, work rules, etc., which apply; after you list specific contract articles, you may want to include a phrase such as “and all other applicable sections of the contract.” This allows the chance to expand your arguments should additional details become known at a later time.
- Clearly state the desired remedy (that is, exactly what the grievant and/or the union want as a solution to the problem); make sure you ask the grievant what he/she wants before writing the remedy.
- When appropriate, conclude the remedy by asking that the grievant be “made whole”.
- Complete the grievance form with the knowledge and assistance of the grievant.
- Make a copy of the grievance form before submitting it to management and add it to your file on the grievance.