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Labor Law by David E. Strecker

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113
© 2011 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Chapter 6
Grievances
What Is a Grievance?
Grievances are usually dened as a dispute between the union and the company
over the application of the contract. Put another way, most grievances involve
the union claiming the company has violated a term of the collective bargaining
agreement. A few contracts allow the company to le a grievance, but this is
not a recommended practice. Management should be able to act as it sees t,
and not be required to le a grievance every time it believes the union or an
employee is doing something wrong. Following the old saying that “manage-
ment acts and the union reacts” is the best way to conduct labor relations. After
all, the company is in charge of the workplace. e union and the company are
not co-employers.
Most grievances are raised by individual employees, but it is the union that
decides whether grievances will be led and, if so, how far they will be processed
in the grievance system and, most importantly, whether they will be taken all the
way to arbitration. A detailed discussion of the union’s legal duty to its members is
beyond the scope of this book. Suce it to say, however, that a union is under no
obligation to accept every grievance or to take every grievance to arbitration. e
union’s duty is to make a reasonable investigation of the matter and to refrain from
acting in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner.
us, although an employee may feel strongly that he or she was wronged by
the company, it is up to the union in the ultimate analysis as to how the matter will
be handled.

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