Dealing with a Problem at Work
One of the benefits of belonging to a union is having back-up when it comes to problem-solving on the job. MGEU members work under a contract, which includes a code of conduct the employer has agreed to honour and you’ve got trained stewards and professional staff representatives in your corner who have experience ensuring that the contract is followed.
In many ways, your contract is like an insurance policy – it gives your union reps the legal ammunition they need to get management to do the right thing.
What to do
Say your immediate supervisor doesn’t seem to be allocating overtime hours fairly in your department. When you bring this to their attention, they deny they’re being unfair. Here's what you should do:
- Make some notes about the problem, with as many dates and details as possible. How many opportunities for overtime have you missed out on? Are there others in your department who feel they’re being treated unfairly when it comes to overtime? These are the kinds of things your staff representative will need to know to help you.
- If you have contact info for your workplace steward, now’s the time to give them a call (for confidentiality reasons, e-mails aren’t recommended). They’ll go over the issue with you and explore some options to rectify the problem.
- If your concern involves a violation of the contract, your steward will set up a meeting for you both to meet with your MGEU staff rep and discuss the possibility of filing a formal grievance with management.
- If you don’t know who your workplace steward is, you can find them by searching for your Local on the Find your Local / Contract page. You can also contact us and we'll put you in touch with the best person to help
The Grievance Process
- If the union and management can’t agree on a resolution, the case becomes a formal grievance. When a grievance is filed, a team of MGEU staff carefully reviews the merits of the grievance and makes a recommendation whether to proceed onto the next step.
- If they decide to proceed, MGEU lawyers meet with the employer again to try and reach a resolution. If this fails, the grievance may be referred to arbitration.
- During arbitration, MGEU lawyers make arguments on the member’s behalf, and the employer will present their case. An independent arbitration board or a single arbitrator ultimately decides the case.
- Occasionally, a grievance is filed not on behalf of an individual member, but on behalf of an entire group of members. MGEU lawyers can take such cases up with the Manitoba Labour Board and at times, have won members thousands of dollars in compensation.
Remember: in a unionized workplace, filing a grievance when your employer is not honouring the contract is a key aspect of on-the-job problem-solving. The MGEU is here to ensure all involved work to resolve the grievance with professionalism and respect.