A grievance is a complaint about something the employer did or did not do:
- A violation of the collective agreement
- A violation of federal or provincial employment-related laws.
- When the employer changes the way they apply collective agreement language.
Article 11 of our Collective Agreement describes how the union and the employer have agreed to handle grievances. It describes how the grievance procedure works, the number of steps, the time limits at each step and who deals with grievances at each step.
Types of Grievances
Individual grievance: The union files a grievance on behalf of an individual employee.
Examples: a worker gets disciplined.
Group grievance: The union files a grievance on behalf of a group of members affected in the same way and at the same time by an action the employer has taken.
Examples: the employer does not let a group of members take family leave, even though the collective agreement says they can.
Policy/Union grievance: The union files a grievance because the employer did or did not do something that could have an impact on all workers covered by the collective agreement. This is usually a general (rather than individual) complaint.
Examples: the employer is not letting union members know about vacant positions, or the employer is not submitting union dues.
Suspension or Discharge grievance: The Union files a grievance in the case of an employee who has been suspended or discharged.
Employer grievance: Employers can also allege the union has violated the collective agreement. Employer grievances are unusual. If you get one, seek advice from your local president, chief steward or staff representative.
Our collective agreement describes the deadlines for all the steps in the grievance procedure. These deadlines (or timelines) are very important.