What To Do if You Have a Concern with Your Working Conditions
by Nancy Taber
When a member has a concern, he/she should email the BUFA Office. The administrative assistants will forward the email to the President, Vice-President, and the Grievance Officer. They will directly address the concern if possible. If not, the Grievance Officer will take on the issue or assign a member of the Grievance Panel to look into it.
The first step is to see if the issue can be resolved informally. Sometimes a member simply needs assistance interpreting the Collective Agreement and crafting an argument to their Dean. If informal attempts are unsuccessful, the Grievance Officer or Grievance Panel may move to a complaint stage. According to Article 10.01a, “a complaint is a disagreement which may lead to a grievance.” The aim is for both Parties (the Employer and the Union), to “make every reasonable effort to encourage informal, amicable and prompt settlement of complaints” (Article 10.04a).
The Grievance Officer may also decide that the issue warrants a grievance, which is “any difference that arises between the Parties relating to the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of this Agreement, including any question as to whether a matter is arbitrable (10.01b)”. A policy grievance “is defined as involving a question of general application or interpretation of this Agreement” (10.01c).
Each of these processes come with associated timelines, so it is important to contact the BUFA office as soon as you have a concern with your working conditions and to promptly answer any BUFA queries/requests for meetings.
According to Article, 10.02, “The Union shall have carriage of all grievances.” This means that an individual member cannot grieve an issue; only BUFA can do this. Also, BUFA can only grieve something that affects the working conditions of members as outlined in the Collective Agreement and associated policies.
The Grievance Officer and Grievance Panel will do everything we can to assist members with their concerns and explain how the Collective Agreement applies.
Please, contact the BUFA office with any questions or requests for support.