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The Life-Cycle of a Typical APWU Grievance -- Part 2

Business Agent Patricia Meanor
by Patti Meanor, October 2002

Local negotiations with management at the BMC (Bulk Mail Center) produced a process to hold all Step I grievances at the local level pending the outcome of the already named "representative" grievance for a number of repetitive violations at the BMC.

The parties developed a repetitive grievance form that identifies the "representative" grievance, the issue, the actual dates of the violation, and the remedy requested. The Union stewards continue to investigate each violation, gather all documentation to prove the violation, complete the Step I grievance form, note the date of violation on the repetitive grievance form, and have the supervisor initial in the proper block on the repetitive grievance form. Each repetitive grievance form covers a pay period, a possibility of fourteen (14) violations.

The Union steward then sends the completed representative grievance form, with a completed Step I grievance for each identified violation for that pay period attached, to the Union office. The violations are then recorded and included in the representative grievance.

The parties have agreed that each notated date of the alleged violation is a Step I grievance that has been properly appealed through the grievance arbitration procedure, as outlined in Article 15 of the National Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The PMAPWU union stewards at the BMC file repetitive Step I grievances for all violations with the mutually agreed upon repetitive grievance format. This new format benefits the Union by not clogging the grievance system with numbers. Your issues will get scheduled for arbitration more quickly by utilizing this procedure, which limits the number of grievance cases actually being appealed to arbitration.

The goal is to negotiate this same repetitive grievance format for all facilities represented by our Local.

The APWU representatives at the Step 3 meeting are National Business Agents from the Eastern Region who rely on the documentation that has been placed in the grievance file at Steps I and 2 by the local union's representatives. Based on the facts and documentation, or the lack of, the Step 3 representatives have "full authority to settle or withdraw the grievance in whole or in part."

Lack of documentation in your grievance file hinders the possibility of settlement at the lowest possible step of the grievance-arbitration procedure.

Once your grievance has been appealed to arbitration, it is placed on the appropriate pending arbitration list, in the order in which it was appealed.

If the facts and documentation are not in the grievance file at the Step I meeting, nor at the Step 2 meeting, the advocate assigned to the case may not be able to reconstruct the facts. The documentation may no longer available. The advocate will then have to evaluate the alleged violation with what is in the case file. If he/she cannot support the contentions of the grievance, he/she will have to withdraw the grievance.

It does not benefit the members of this union to have an arbitrator rule on an alleged violation without having complete facts, documentation, and a fully developed grievance case file. We need your help when filing grievances. Help us give you the representation you are entitled to. Work with your union steward. If your steward asks for specific information and documentation, please provide it.

The bottom line is this: We need to work together so that we can reduce the amount of time that it takes to get your grievance settled.

I believe the new procedures incorporated here at the Local level, and the procedures negotiated under Article 15 of the National Collective Bargaining Agreement, will help us to better utilize the grievance-arbitration procedure for the benefit of all our members.

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