Diane Rapp CLE
How do you know if you have a Grievance?
First thing.....Did you contact your supervisor?
Did you get a resolution or compensation?
Do you still feel like you are being violated? If so, then you contact your Grievance Representative.
What is a Grievance?
The textbook definition of a grievance is the violation of the terms of a Contract or Interpretation or Application of a Contract. A grievance is more than likely a violation of an Employee's rights on the job, a right that is usually but not always defined by the contract.
A grievance may exist if the Company violates Federal, State, or Local laws, and / or rules and regulations prescribed by such organizations
A violation of "past practice" may be also a grievance. Past practice is roughly defined as a practice that has been repeated over a period of time. It is not something that has happened once or twice or that has been in place for a week. It is a practice that has been going on for enough time, and so frequently, that it appears to a reasonable person, that both sides have agreed informally to conduct their business in this manner.
For purposes here, most grievances usually fall into one of two general categories; "Work Rule" and "Contractual" grievances or "Disciplinary" grievances.
An example of a work rule grievance could be a situation where a Flight Attendant is required to be on duty longer than the contract allows.
Disciplinary grievances are those where the Union can challenge certain rules or their application when a Flight Attendant is given an unjust or unwarranted step of discipline, or perhaps the Company does not follow the steps of progressive discipline as defined in our contract. We may argue that a member is being disciplined without "just cause" or that he or she is suffering from "disparate treatment." The two expressions are simply an arbitrator's way of saying that the Flight Attendant is being disciplined unfairly.
How Do I Know if I Have A Valid Grievance?
First, it is important to know what your rights are. Your contract provides for work rule, pay and quality of life guarantees. Many grievance-related questions can be answered by reading and understanding your contract. If you do not have a copy of your contract, get one from your Union Representatives, The full ExpressJet and CommutAir contract are available on this web site and applicable sections can be printed out, but it is always advisable to carry your contract with you while flying or on Airport Alert. Spend the time to become familiar with, and knowledgeable about your contract. Knowing your contractual rights can prevent a situation from becoming a grievance in the first place.
If you now feel that you have a valid grievance, OR if you are being called to meet with your Supervisor and that meeting may result in discipline of any type, call your Grievance Chairperson to discuss the situation and receive assistance.
Okay, I have a grievance. What do I do now?
The first step is to contact your Local Lodge Grievance Representatives.
Your grievance rep will assess your situation and provide assistance and representation throughout the grievance process. Time awareness is important, because grievances "must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date the employee knew or could reasonable be expected to have known of the grievance." Please don't delay in contacting your Grievance Representative.
What is a Step 1 Grievance?
At this point your grievance is a Step 1 Grievance (or, is at the "Step 1 Level"). Your Grievance Chairperson then sets a hearing date with the designated Company Representative to hear your Step 1 Grievance. You may or may not be needed at that meeting, depending on the nature of the grievance. Grievance hearings are not held every day, but you can expect your grievance to be "heard" within a timely manner.
At the Step 1 hearing, your Grievance Chairperson and Company Representative make their respective cases. Your Union seeks to resolve your grievance at the Step 1 Level with a decision favorable to you. The appointed Company Representative is required to provide a written decision to the Step 1 hearing within 30 days of the hearing. Unjust Termination grievances must be answered by the Company at the Step 1 Level within 10 days of the hearing.
If this decision is acceptable to both you then the grievance is considered "settled," (or it is "settled at Step 1.") Your grievance is now closed and you are due your settlement (if any.)
If this decision is unacceptable to both you (meaning, whatever prompted the grievance is unchanged) your Grievance Chairperson will contact you and advise you that the grievance is being appealed to Step 2 )or the Step 2 Level.)
What is a Step 2 Grievance?
A step 2 Grievance is one that has not been agreeably settled at the Step 1 Level. If an unfavorable decision is received, and is not settled, then the grievance becomes a "Step 2 Grievance" (or is "sent on to Step 2"). You Grievance Chairperson then takes your case file, notes, and all relevant information, and delivers it to the District Lodge 142 General Chairperson who will proceed with your grievance. The District Chairperson will contact you for further information and then schedules your grievance for a Step 2 hearing with a designated Company Vice President. Many times, cases that were unsuccessful at the Step 1 level are settled agreeably at the Step 2 level.
If the Step 2 decision is not agreeable to you and the President - Directing General Chairperson of the IAM (or his/her designee), then the matter may be appealed to the System Board of Adjustment (Arbitration) as provided for in Section 20 of your contract. Any case may be submitted by either party (Union or Company) for discussion between the Company's Staff Vice President, Labor Relations, and the President - Directing General Chairperson of the IAM District Lodge 142 prior to being heard by the System Board of Arbitration.
As with the Step 1 hearing, if the decision is agreeable and acceptable to you, the grievance is considered "settled" (or, it is "settled at Step 2") and your case is closed out. If an unfavorable decision is received, your case can then be considered for Arbitration (or "sent to arbitration").
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is the last stop for your grievance. After going through the first and second steps of the grievance process explained above, and having not received the expected result in that process, your grievance may now be "arbitrated."
The Arbitration process is as follows:
The selection of an Arbitrator is a process similar to the jury selection process in a civil or criminal trial. Your Representatives seek a fair, impartial, and knowledgeable administrator to be the Presiding Arbitrator for your case.
The timeline for Arbitration is hard to gauge, as it is based on caseload and arbitrator availability. Cases are placed on the docket and are brought forth based upon relative importance - with termination arbitration taking priority over all others.
Grievances relating to matters general in character which cannot be settled at the local level may be submitted by the Union in writing to and discussed between the designated Company Vice President and the President - Directing General Chairman of the IAM or his/her designee.
The Staff Vice President, Inflight, and the President - Directing General Chairman of the IAM or his/her designee(s), will meet twice each year, between March 1 & April 30, and between September 1 and October 30, for the purpose of attempting to settle all outstanding grievances then pending before the System Board. For those cases which are not settled, a means and schedule for final resolution will be set. The settlement conferences are conducted at a mutually agreed upon location.
Each side will present their case before the arbitrator. The arbitrator will ask any questions or call any witnesses he/she deems necessary to help clarify their understanding of the situation. The arbitrator will then make a ruling. This ruling is binding and cannot be argued further by either side.