What is a grievance?
A grievance is a complaint, in writing, against actions or lack of action, by an employer in matters relating to the employees’ terms and conditions of employment.
The purpose of a grievance could be any of the following:
- correct injustices done to members
- correct wrongdoing by the employer
- enforce the collective agreement
- indicate seriousness of an issue to management
- register displeasure, protest
- protect and preserve members’ rights
- provide for orderly way of resolving problems
What should I do if I have a grievance?
First step is to talk with your Shop Steward. The Shop Steward’s job is to provide a safe and supportive situation in which you can explain what has happened and the remedy you would like to see.
Your Steward will discuss with you your rights, possible resolution methods and anticipated outcomes. Upon determining the course of action, the Steward will work with you to properly document the situation and complete the necessary paperwork.
It is important that you adhere to the timelines outlined in your collective agreement. If you wait too long, a grievance can be considered untimely and denied by the employer.
Which forms are needed to start a grievance process?
Your Steward will assist you with completing the necessary paperwork which include the grievance presentation form (linked). The Steward may also collect the necessary signatures for filing the grievance.
Stewards: The Steward’s Factsheet can assist you in compiling this information. Please see the Steward’s Guide (link) to Grievance Handling for further information.
Who is the grievance submitted to?
The grievance can be submitted by the Steward or the grievor to the grievor’s immediate supervisor or the employer’s designated representative. The grievance presentation form bearing the date and signature of the individual to whom it was submitted, will serve as proof of the submission of the grievance and also serves to confirm the grievance was filed within the prescribed timelines. Retain a copy of the signed grievance form for the grievance file.
Stewards: If the delegated officer responsible for receiving grievances is not available, reschedule a time to come back. NEVER leave a grievance form with someone for signature and agree to “get back to them”; always maintain control of the grievance form. If it is necessary to reschedule a time to come back, it is important to ensure the timelines are adhe
What happens once the grievance forms are submitted?
Except when a grievance is successfully resolved, most grievances will progress through multiple levels in the grievance process. Typically, the first level is heard at the local level and the final level is heard at the national level. As each collective agreement is unique, refer to the grievance article in your collective agreement to determine the appropriate process.
After your grievance has been submitted you and your Steward will be notified of your grievance hearing date with an employer representative. At the hearing present copies of all documents that support your grievance, your Steward will clearly articulate how you have been aggrieved and the corrective measures you are seeking. Take notes of all discussion and place the notes in the grievance file with the supporting documents.
Once the grievance has been presented and responded to at the local level if the grievor wishes to continue to pursue the grievance the Local representative the grievor must sign a transmittal form will forward a copy of the grievance file to the UNDE National Office to the Grievance Registry Clerk via mail, fax or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> . The grievance file must include all applicable documents such as:
- A copy of the grievance form signed by all parties, grievor, steward, employer.
- A copy of the level 1 response.
- A copy of the signed grievance transmittal to level 2.
- A copy of the level 2 response.
- A copy of the signed grievance transmittal to level 3.
- A copy of any signed written WAIVERS or EXTENSION OF TIMELINES.
- A statement outlining the facts of the grievance as well ALL supporting documents.
- A summary of the actions leading up to the filing of the grievance.
- A summary of the arguments used in support of the grievance at the level 1 and level 2 hearings.
The Local and the grievor each should retain a copy of the grievance file for their records.
Using the contact information provided on the grievance form, the UNDE Labour Relations Officer (LRO) will contact the grievor when the LRO has received the entire file to discuss the way ahead.
How long will it take for my grievance to be addressed?
As each collective agreement is unique, the grievor should refer to the article describing the grievance process in their own collective agreement to determine the timelines. (this will be a link to collective agreements)
Observe Time Limits
Pay attention to time limits! They are important for the simple reason that grievances filed outside the appropriate time frames are considered untimely and can be denied by management. Read the grievance article in the collective agreement.
Withdrawing a Grievance
A key principle to remember is that the grievance belongs to the grievor! At any time during the process the grievor can terminate the grievance.
The grievance should be submitted to the grievor’s immediate supervisor or the employer’s designated representative.
The grievance presentation form, bearing the date and signature of the individual to whom it was submitted, will serve as proof of the submission of the grievance and also serves to confirm the grievance was filed within the prescribed timelines.
If the delegated officer responsible for receiving grievances is not available, reschedule a time to come back. NEVER leave a grievance form with someone for signature and agree to “get back to them”. If it is necessary to reschedule a time to come back, it is important to ensure the timelines are adhered to.
About Individual Grievances
Individual grievances are filed by individual employees. These grievances can address issues related to the collective agreement, discipline and human rights, as well as other matters affecting the individual employee concerned.
Depending on the subject of the grievance, individual grievances can also be referred to an independent third party (an adjudicator or an arbitrator) for a binding decision once the internal grievance process has been exhausted.
For example in matters related to Treasury Board employees, Labour Legislation such as the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) and specifically Section 209 of the PSLRA, and collective agreements, set out which subjects of a grievance can be brought before an adjudicator or an arbitrator. The decision to refer a grievance to adjudication/arbitration rests with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
About Group Grievances
The Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) allows UNDE members employed by Treasury Board the right to file group grievances, formerly referred to as “et al” grievances.
Group grievances are filed by a “group of employees” rather than by an individual employee. Grievances of this type are used in situations where a group of employees in the same workplace or department face the same problem. The problem must relate to the interpretation or application of the collective agreement. To proceed with a group grievance, the union must obtain the consent of each of the employees concerned.
Three (3) forms are required, the grievance form, a consent to be represented form, and a signature form that must be signed by all employees that are party to the grievance.
Depending on the subject of the grievance, group grievances can be referred to an independent third party (an adjudicator or an arbitrator) for a binding decision. The decision to refer a group grievance to adjudication/arbitration rests with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
Group GrievanceTBS/SCT 340-56
Group Grievance: Sub SectionForm 19 Subsection 77(2)
Group Grievance: SupplementalSupplementatl Form 19 Subsection 77(2)
Other Types of Grievances
Applicable to DND employees only.
Members must remember that they cannot file a classification grievance to address staff relations issues such as work description content and/or the effective date. These issues should normally be resolved before the work description is sent for a classification review.
Classification grievances are a one-level process, submitted on an individual grievance forms and are filed to object to a classification decision. Classification grievances are filed at the Local level and should immediately be transmitted to UNDE National Office. Classification grievances are only represented at the national level by the UNDE USO Classifications.
To file a classification grievance, there must have been a classification decision rendered on the position. UNDE encourages written confirmation of the classification decision whenever possible, for example an EPAR, letter or an email. IF the notification has been received verbally, a follow up email from the employee [member] to the employer representative to confirm the verbal notification is strongly encouraged.
For more information and assistance on classification grievances, members should contact their Local or the Union Services Officer responsible for classification grievances.
Both the employer and the union can file a policy grievance. A policy grievance must relate to an interpretation or application of the collective agreement and typically have, but not limited to, a national impact. Only the President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) can file and sign a policy grievance on behalf of the union.
If a member(s) or a Local feels that they have an issue that may warrant filing a policy grievance, they should contact their Local President or their Union Services Officer at the UNDE National Office. The matter in dispute should be submitted in writing to the President UNDE for furtherance to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
It is important to observe the timelines for the filing of a policy grievance as much work is required by numerous levels within the union structure to ensure timely submissions.
National Joint Council Grievances (NJC)
The National Joint Council is a consultative body established in 1944 to promote the efficiency of the public service and to conduct consultation with the various bargaining agents. The NJC consults on the development and implementation of public service-wide policies. It is a joint union-management body that performs its function through an Administrative Committee as well as various working committees.
NJC Grievances pertain to a contravention of a NJC Directive. The Directives are listed in the collective agreement: PA (Table 1) Article 7; SV (Table 2) Article 7; TC (Table 3) Article 7; and EB (Table 5) Article 36.
NJC Grievances should be submitted on an Individual Grievance form.
Locals should ensure that a signed but “undated” 3rd level NJC transmittal form is included in the package that is sent to UNDE National office for future use by the Union Services Officer.
Public Service Staffin Tribunal Complaints (PSST)
Policy Grievance Presentation(PSLRA s. 220) (TBS/SCT 340-53)
Grievance Transmittal FormTBS/SCT 340-54
Forms are also available on the Treasury Board website.