Everything you need to know about a
1. What is a grievance?
The exact definition of a grievance is set out in the grievance procedure of
your collective bargaining agreement (contract). Only those matters that are
contained within this definition constitute a grievance. Most commonly, a
grievance is defined as a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of the
collective bargaining agreement. It is important to review the grievance
definition before filing a grievance.
2. Who can file a grievance?
The collective bargaining agreement generally defines who can file a grievance.
Typically, a grievant is defined as an employee, a group of employees or the
local association. A grievance filed on behalf of a group is normally called a
class action grievance.
3. Why grieve?
Filing a grievance allows an employee or the local association to address
problems affecting the work environment. The local association has a strong
interest in enforcing the negotiated terms of the contract and does so through
the grievance process.
4. When do you file a grievance?
Timelines for filing a grievance are set forth in the collective bargaining agreement
and must be strictly followed. Often there is only a short time in which
to investigate and file the grievance. Make sure you contact your local association
grievance officer in a timely manner to see if you should file a grievance to
protect your rights. Failure to file a grievance within the contract's time limits
can result in the claim being lost as "untimely filed." You can always withdraw
a grievance if new information is learned.
5. How do you file a grievance?
Timeliness is of the essence. First of all, do not "go it alone." Contact your local
grievance chair. Check the grievance procedure in thecontract to determine who gets
the grievance and when.
6. What are the grievance steps?
A grievance procedure usually contains steps or levels at which grievances are
processed. Examples of steps in a public school are: immediate supervisor or
principal, superintendent, school committee and arbitration.
7. If it is not a grievance, what are the alternatives?
If it is determined that there is no grievance, a remedy may be found in one
or more of the following ways:
Unfair labor practice.
Alternative dispute resolution.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor
and other agencies.
Bargaining (either mid-term or wait for successor bargaining).
Organizational activities (community action, political action, lobbying
school board members, etc.).
8. What information is needed for a grievance?
Remember to review the entire grievance procedure and follow it. Check the
time limits and use the appropriate form(s). If there is no form, consult with
your local association president or grievance officer regarding filing procedures.
The actual grievance should include the following basic information:
1. Date of the incident.
2. Date the grievance is filed.
3. Sections of the contract violated.
4. Description of the complaint.
5. Remedy requested.
9. Do all grievances result in arbitration?
No. The grievance procedure is an extension of the collective bargaining process.
Many grievances can be "worked out"-or bargained. A grievance reflects
a problem. Problems can often be resolved. What is the nature of the problem?
Is it a contract dispute? Is it a personality conflict? Is it a power struggle? Does the
organization need to justify its existence or send a message to the employer? Is
the grievance winnable? Is it a "frivolous" grievance? Is it really necessary to take
this specific grievance to arbitration?
Information above was created by MTA
Erin Gaffny and Danielle Wood are the CO-Grievance Chair of the HEA. Please contact them if you have questions reguarding a potential grievance. Their email is,
Link is a grievance form