By Lead Steward, Nick Sloss
What is a Grievance?
Every few years, the SEIU Higher Education Bargaining Team bargains our employment contract with management. When a member violates the terms of the contract, management cites an employee with disciplinary action. When management violates the terms of the contract, we file a grievance. Simply put, a grievance is a formal notification and attempt at resolution of a contract violation. Stewards are here to help you with all of your contractual enforcement needs, not just discipline. Contract violations come in many shapes and forms. The most common contract violations are pay disputes, working conditions and workload, and “just cause” disciplinary conflicts. You can read more about just cause here.
A number of resolutions can be sought through processes laid out in your contract and for which your stewards have been trained to help you through. You can help us identify contract violations simply by getting to know your contract. Your stewards are the contractual experts on campus and can help you determine whether management has violated the contract, but simply familiarizing yourself with the table of contents will clue you in on whether your particular issue is covered in our collective bargaining agreement. Our contract can be found here. Your stewards can also provide hard copies of the contract upon request and help guide you through articles and how they pertain to your workplace problems. The stewards hotline number is 541-346-0321, and we’re happy to help.
The number one right I want everyone in the workplace to know about!
Do you know about your Weingarten rights? A landmark 1975 court case, J. Weingarten Inc. vs The National Labor Relations Board, resulted in the right to union representation in any meeting which you reasonably believe may result in your discipline. This means that if your boss calls you into their office and begins to interrogate you, accuse you, or excessively degrade your work, then you can legally, and without repercussions or retaliation, Stop the meeting, Refuse to answer questions, and Demand that you have a steward with you.
Too often in our workplaces, bosses overstep their managerial rights, and single out workers to accuse them of workplace misconduct, or worse, call them into a Weingarten meeting that may actually result in their discipline. Stewards are here to help. The Steward hotline (541-346-0321) is your ticket to representatives who know the contract, who have been trained in the proper representation and your workplace rights, and who confer with other stewards on how best to proceed in helping people. We’re here for everything from questions about the contract, help with filing grievances and official complaints, to representation in disciplinary meetings, and hearing your issues in the workplace.
So, to reiterate, invoking your Weingarten Right is as easy as saying: “I believe this meeting may result in a disciplinary action and request to have my steward present before answering any questions” or, “I want my steward” and then calling the stewards hotline (541-346-0321). We’re here to help!