days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

The Weekly Dispatch – Grievance Processing Times

Definition of a Grievance:

A grievance is “an allegation, usually by an individual (employee), but sometimes by the Union or management, of misinterpretation or misapplication of a collective bargaining agreement or of traditional work practices”  (Doherty 1989).

Articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Collective Agreement provide for the process by which the Union files grievances on behalf of the Membership. LOU 44 provides for the order of priority in which these grievances shall be heard.

LOU 44 order of priority:

  1. Discharge grievances
  2. Grievances in which there is possible irreparable harm (see note below)
  3. Return to work grievances
  4. Discipline grievances
  5. All other grievances

Note: Irreparable harm is a legal concept which argues that the type of harm threatened cannot be corrected through monetary compensation or conditions cannot be put back the way they were.

The Union files hundreds of individual and policy grievances yearly. In 2023 the combined total of level 1 grievances filed by all four Locals was approximately 515. Level 2 grievances filed by the Component totaled approximately 174. These include suspension pending discharge, termination, and policy grievances. There are numerous documents that accompany these grievances, and we have a database that stores them.

The parties have a Chief Arbitrator, William Kaplan, who hears grievances at the arbitration level. Hearings take place monthly. Each party provides a monthly review list in accordance with the priority order of grievances. The Arbitrator, to the extent possible, will seek to resolve through mediation the matters on the monthly review list. If the matters cannot be resolved by mediation, the Chief Arbitrator shall decide the matter(s) by expedited arbitration.

Unlike some other collective agreements, our Collective Agreement contains an expedited arbitration process.  Without an expedited process, grievances can take years to process. We will examine the language of LOU 44 to determine if improvements can be made in 2025 bargaining. We believe that internal processes should be analyzed, improved, and streamlined for the benefit of the membership.

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