Step 4: Preparation

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:

  1. Basic information about the grievant: name, job title or classification, department, work location, etc.
  2. Information about what happened (or failed to happen) that brought about the grievance.
  3. A description of what contract provision, work rule, past practice, etc., that management has violated.
  4. 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.

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