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Updated On: Jul 09, 2012

Although there are many ways to define a grievance, it usually refers to a disagreement between a bargaining unit worker and his employer about a contract provision.

The ability to grieve a workplace issue is probably the cornerstone of your Union contract, it gives you a "voice" in the workplace. As a Teamster Member working under a Union contract, you are on an equal plane with your boss when it comes to holding him accountable for honoring the provisions in your contract.

Common reasons workers file grievances are: seniority violations, overtime pay disputes, changes in policies, and protests of unjust discipline or terminations.

Most contracts or CBAs (Collective Bargaining Agreements) have a grievance procedure written into the language. Some require employees to file a grievance within 3 days of the event, others allow 5, 7, even 15 days. There are usually "steps" of the procedure; trying to work it out verbally, then putting it into writing, then a formal hearing, etc. ALWAYS seek the advice of your Union Steward prior to filing a grievance. Sometimes you may feel there is a situation that warrants filing a grievance, but in actuality, the company is within their rights. Your Steward can advise you on whether there was a contract violation or not, and how to write an effective grievance to address the violation.

Too often Members lose grievances by providing inaccurate or incomplete information on the grievance report. When writing a grievance, always remember to include the five "Ws":  Who, What, Where, When, & Why. Who was involved? What happened? Where did it happen? When did it happen? and Why is it a contract violation?

The "Remedy" section is also a critical part of your grievance, too. You need to define how you want your employer to address the problem. If you don't actually ask for a specific remedy in your grievance, chances are you won't get one!

Please see your Union Steward to obtain a grievance form  and consult with them before actually filing the grievance with the Local Union. 

More Information:
Member's Guide For Grievance Success
Teamsters Local 991
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