Grievance Procedures

Union members enjoy many benefits and privileges that are not afforded to nonunion employees.  One of the most important benefits is access to a grievance procedure.

A grievance is defined as a complaint involving the interpretation or application of any of the provisions of the contract, or a complaint that an employee(s) has been unfairly treated.

Whenever a grievance arises, the parties resolve the matter by utilizing a grievance procedure.  This procedure allows the parties to sit down together as equals to try to remedy the situation. There are usually three or four “steps” (meetings) involving progressively higher level union and management personnel. If the parties reach an impasse, (cannot reach an agreement) at any step then the issue goes to a higher level up to and including a neutral arbitrator who acts as judge and jury and issues a legally binding ruling.  
So, does a union limit me from speaking directly with my management?  No, the first provision in the law quoted below permits employees or groups of employees to present problems or grievances without going through the union.  The second provision protects the union and other employees by making sure the adjustment is consistent with the contract and is fair to other employees.