The Grievance Procedure


The Grievance Procedure

The grievance procedure is that unique happening that permits the worker an avenue of redress for wrongs done to him or her according to the Working Agreement between the Union and the Company. Therefore, a grievance must constitute a violation of the Working Agreement. As is often the case, many grievances are written on sentiment rather than violations of the working agreement. Often it is very hard for the individual worker to differentiate between a violation and a past practice that has been in existence without challenge, but suddenly stopped by the Company.

The grievance procedure that our people use is identical with others used in many industries throughout the land, a three step procedure.

The grievance procedure, like the Union itself, is a procedure that many of our people take for granted and shouldn't. There are still many places in the nation where a meaningful grievance procedure doesn't exist, because such places lack Union representation. In many of the so-called "right to work" states, where Union influence is watered down because Union employees must work alongside non-Union employees on the same job, the grievance procedure has a totally different meaning. This is also the case where there is no Union representation at all.

Here, in the state of Michigan, and in general, the Midwest, where industries are heavily unionized, young workers who enter the job can't remember not having a Union to represent them. He or she is not aware of conditions to the contrary that are in existence in other parts of the country. They are inclined to be very demanding and critical of not only the Company, but the Union as well.

The Grievance procedure, and arbitration as well, really got a toehold during World War II, when the War Labor Board was developed for the purpose of keeping steady employment, minus the threat and practice of strikes, for the purpose of keeping productivity at a peak during the war effort. It was during these years that the grievance procedure reached its first real recognition as a means of preventing strikes and at the same time giving the worker an opportunity to air his differences with the employer. Since the years of World War II, the grievance procedure and arbitration of irreconcilable differences have become the nationally recognized method of dealing with labor problems.

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