The Grievance Procedure
The grievance procedure, as it is found in the current collective agreements, (Article 18 in PA (Table 1), SV (Table 2) and TC (Table 3) and Article 37 in EB (Table 5)), is available on the Treasury Board website. What follows is a brief discussion of issues that typically arise for stewards in the course of their work.
Submitting the grievance
The grievance is to be submitted to 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.
Grievances filed outside the appropriate time periods are considered untimely and can be denied by management.
The employer is required, in normal circumstances, to reply within the prescribed timelines. This applies to all levels in the grievance procedure except the final level where the time frame is 30 days.
If the employer’s response is not satisfactory to the grievor, the grievance must be transmitted to the next level of the procedure within the prescribed timelines of receiving the written reply. This applies to all levels except the final level. If the grievance is not transmitted in a timely way, the grievance will be deemed to have been abandoned, unless the grievor was prevented from complying by circumstances beyond his or her control.
The time limits in the procedure can be extended by mutual agreement between the employer and the grievor. This type of agreement should always be made in writing. A statement, signed and dated by the employer representative and the grievor is all that is needed. It can read simply “It is mutually agreed between the employer and ___(grievor)___ that the date for reply to grievance no. _______ is extended to ___(date)___.”
Levels in the procedure
Except where a grievance is successfully resolved, most grievances progress through three levels. Typically the first and second levels are at the local level and the third (final) is at the national. There are exceptions depending on the employer’s structure, but the requirement for the employer to post the names of its representatives at all levels will allow stewards to identify the steps in the procedure as it applies to their workplace.
Where the employer and the grievor mutually agree, one or more levels in the procedure can be waived. This does not apply to the final level.
Agreements of this sort should always be in writing and can simply read:
“It is mutually agreed between the employer and ___(grievor)___ that with respect to grievance no. _______ , level(s) ______ is waived and the grievance will proceed directly to level ______.”
Both the employer representative and the grievor should sign the agreement.
EXCEPTION - When an employee is demoted or terminated, the grievance by-passes the first and second levels and proceeds directly to the final level.
What to send to the UNDE National Office
Once the grievance has presented and responded to at the local (typically the first and second levels), stewards should forward the following information to the UNDE National Office:
- A copy of the grievance presentation (the grievance form or other document stating the grievance).
- A copy of the reply from the employer at the first level.
- A copy of the grievance transmittal authorizing the grievance to proceed to the second level (the grievance transmittal form or other document).
- A copy of the reply from the employer at the second level.
- A copy of the grievance transmittal authorizing the grievance to proceed to the third level (the grievance transmittal form or other document).
- A statement outlining the facts of the grievance as well as any supporting documents.
- A summary of the arguments used in support of the grievance at first and second level hearings.
The grievance cannot proceed without this information. If there is a delay in providing it, the outcome of the grievance will be delayed. UNDE recognizes that stewards work as volunteers who must manage work and personal responsibilities in addition to their union role, and all efforts to provide necessary information quickly are very much appreciated.