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The collective bargaining agreement - the contract between union and employer - is the legal document, which brings a measure of justice, equality and democracy to the employment relationship and the workplace.
The grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement and the effective use of it by the union and its membership transforms the contract from a piece of paper into a living document.
The key to effective contract enforcement is the work and activity of the union steward at each work location.
A grievance is a complaint by an employee, a group of employees or the union, that:

(1) there has been a violation or misinterpretation of a specific term of this agreement
(2) an established policy or practice has been applied unfairly or inequitably.

The purpose of the grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement is to provide for the speedy, orderly and equiatable resolution of disputes.
The grievance representative must conduct a full and independent investigation.
The essentials of the grievance investigation consist of obtaining the fullest possible answers to the "6 Crucial W questions":

Who is involved?

When did it happen?

Where did it happen?

What happened?

Why is it a grievance?

What must be done to make the grievance Whole



Don't shortcut the grievance procedure.

Do stick to the facts.

Don't lose your temper.

Do talk less and listen more.

Don't bluff or threaten.

Don't permit stalling.

Don't "horsetrade" grievances.

Do attempt to settle at the lowest step.

Don't argue with the grievant in front of management.

Do keep the grievant informed about the grievance.


Arbitration is the process by which unresolved grievances, as defined in the contract, are submitted to a mutually acceptable third party, who renders a final and binding decision and, when appropriate, makes an award to the aggrieved party.
The majority of arbitration awards are not won because of the failure of one side to adequately prepare and present its case in earlier stages.
The local grievance committee determines which grievances will be taken to arbitration.
In this role each member of the review body should ask five questions regarding the particular grievance.



Is the Union right?

Do we have the evidence and arguments to win the case?

Is the issue sufficiently important?

What will be the effect of winning or losing on the contract?

Is there an acceptable alternative resolution?


 Grievance Form  A PDF form for use for contract violations.

Grievance Chair E-mail Address:

Additional Resources