What is a Grievance?

A grievance is any unjust action, practice or condition committed by management. It is a statement that an employer, or someone acting on behalf of an employer, has violated a worker's rights that have been agreed to under the contract, or through legislation, or through the employer's past practice, or through the employer failing to meet management rules or responsibilities, or through lack off fair treatment. For example:
  • Violations of the contract
    These are grievances that are violations of the contract. They include such matters as seniority, hours of work, staffing, wages, working conditions, holidays and vacations, and disciplinary action without just cause.
  • Violations of past practice
    No contract can cover every practice on the job. A practice that has been in place for an extended period of time and is accepted by both parties either explicitly (orally or in writing) or implicitly (neither side has ever objected) may be the basis for a grievance if it is violated.
  • Violation of fair treatment
    There doesn't have to be a contract clause covering a supervisor's assaults or abuse of employees to make it possible to grieve this kind of violation. Discrimination and workers' rights cover a broad range of incidents or practices. Management cannot legally discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, nationality, religion, or union activity.
  • Violation of the law
    Laws written to protect workers are implicitly part of the contract, and violation of municipal, state, or federal laws can constitute a grievance.
  • Management's violation of rules or responsibilities
    Management has the responsibility to provide safe and healthy working conditions. Likewise, management has a right to certain policies under the contract. If management fails to fulfill its responsibilities or violates its own policies, it may be necessary to file a grievance.

What is a ULP?

The National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act of 1935) defines five unfair labor practices of employers.
  • Interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act.
  • Dominating or interfering with the formation or administration of any labor organization, or contributing financial or other support to it.
  • Discriminating in regard to hiring or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment so as to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.
  • Discharging or otherwise discriminating against employees because they file charges or give testimony under the Act.
  • Refusing to bargain collectively with the duly chosen representative of employees.
Have a grievance or need to file a ULP? Contact your shop steward or other local official, who can help you complete a grievance complaint form.
Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
NAGE HEADQUARTERS 159 Burgin Parkway
Quincy, MA 02169
Main Phone: (617)376-0220
Main Fax: (617) 472-7566
Union Local Tax Issues Federal law now requires that every local union file an annual information return—Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N—with the IRS. If your local fails to file under this new requirement.. Read more