Step 5: Presentation

Before meeting with management, prepare an outline for your case. This helps organize the presentation you will make to management. It can also help you define exactly what you want to accomplish in the meeting. Some stewards practice their verbal presentation in front of a mirror. Remember: In a grievance meeting, you are on equal ground with management. It is no longer boss and employee. Carry yourself and present yourself as management’s equal in the meeting. Treat the supervisor with respect, and expect and insist upon respect in return. Below are some “Do’s and Don’t” you might want to practice during the grievance presentation:


  • Use a positive, friendly down-to-business approach
  • Stick to the subject of the grievance
  • Discuss issues
  • Remain calm, cool and collected
  • Keep notes of what is said during the meeting
  • Listen for the main point of management’s argument and for possible openings to resolve the grievance
  • Attempt to resolve each grievance at the lowest possible step, but, if management is not willing to fairly resolve the case, be prepared to appeal to the next step
  • Get every grievance settlement in writing
  • Give the member your understanding of what (if any) resolution has been reached or what will happen next after the conclusion of the meeting. This helps avoid misunderstandings later.


  • Make threats or try to bluff your way through a grievance
  • Allow the discussion to be sidetracked on other issues, past problems or irrelevant subjects
  • Discuss personalities
  • Become angry, belligerent or hostile
  • Lose focus of the objective: resolving the grievance
  • Get into arguments with the grievant during the meeting; if need be, ask for a caucus and step outside the room to iron out differences and clear up any confusion
  • “Horse trade” or swap one grievance for another (where the union wins one, management wins one). Each case should be decided on its merits
  • Accept management’s verbal assurances that “it will be taken care of.”

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