What Should My Grievance Contain?

Your Grievance Should Contain: **Remember the 5 "W's"**

· WHO was involved in the incident? Be sure that you identify not only those directly involved,

but also any witnesses

· WHEN did it happen? Identify the incident as specifically as possible: date, time, shift, etc…

· WHERE did it happen? Again, as specifically as possible.

· WHAT happened? What are the specific circumstances?

· WHY is this incident a grievance? Identify the clause(s) of the contract violated, as well as the

phrase "and all other relevant contract provisions." How does the action, or inaction, of

management violate the cited clause(s)?


If you are citing "past practice", make sure to use the term, after citing the appropriate clause(s) add "and the practice thereunder".


When writing your requested remedy, you must let management know what you want to happen to remedy the violation. The requested remedy must be reasonable related to the violation and to the grievant(s). The most common remedy requested is that the grievant(s) be "made whole", i.e. restored to the condition and status that existed prior to the violation, with no loss of pay or other benefits or entitlements. Also, include the phrase "and all other benefits to which the grievant is entitled."


FINALLY, when processing your grievance be sure to follow your grievance procedure carefully. Watch all time limits and adhere to them faithfully.* (If management fails to respond at any step within the time frame specified for their response, assume a negative response and proceed to the next step of the grievance procedure.) Failure to adhere to the time frames may adversely affect you ability to arbitrate. (Management can make a claim to the arbitrator that the grievance is non-arbitral if you fail to adhere to the time limits .As a general rule, arbitrators will find a grievance to be non-arbitral if the time frames contained within the negotiated grievance procedure are egregiously violated. Their feeling is that, since negotiated grievance procedures contain mutually agreed to time limits for processing a grievance through the steps, it is not unreasonable to expect you to adhere to the time limits you agreed to, and if you fail to do so, you forfeit the right to move the grievance to the next step.)


When seeking to determine the intent of the parties, arbitrators will interpret disputed language in the context of the entire contract - they will give the meaning to the language in dispute that renders it part of a "harmonious whole". In order to accomplish that end, arbitrators will favor the interpretation of a disputed provision that gives the effect to other clauses and provisions, rather than interpreting disputed language in a manner that would render other clauses and provisions meaningless.


Arbitrators will reject interpretations of disputed language that produce "harsh and nonsensical" results.


Arbitrators will interpret language that specifies certain inclusions to exclude things not specifically listed.


Specific language will be enforced over general language.


*By mutual agreement, time limits have been extended in the past.