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If there's a problem.....consult WUFA first, not last!
From time to time members face issues in the workplace which concern their working conditions. Under the Collective Agreement, an association member has the right to request the Faculty Association to initiate a grievance on their behalf.
WUFA always encourages informal discussion between a member and his/her AAU Head before a grievance is launched. It is always preferable to settle an issue before the union gets involved. If this informal approach does not resolve the issue, the Collective Agreement outlines the grievance steps to be followed for the grievance process.
PLEASE NOTE the early stages of grievances require time sensitive action on your part - don't delay!
To view current Policy Grievances click here
To view the steps in a Grievance, click here
To understand the Grievance Appeal process, click here
To understand the Role of the Grievance Committee, click here
To view the Faculty Assoc.’s Grievance Procedure Brochure, click here
To view the names of people on the Grievance Committee, click here
To view the Grievance Officers Handbook, click here
To contact the Faculty Association about a potential grievance, call Ext. 3366 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any complaint may be presented orally and discussed informally between the complainant and his/her Dept. Head (or Director, Assoc. Librarian, etc). The complainant may ask to have an Associatin rep attend this meeting.
If there is no resolution to this meeting, or if a member wishes to initiate a grievance, he/she shall notify the Faculty Association within 15 working days of the occurence; or within 15 working days of informal meeting. Once a member contacts the Faculty Association with a workplace grievance, WUFA will normally assign a grievance officer to the case and a Step 1 meeting will be set up within 20 days. All information concerning the complaint is kept confidential within the Faculty Association.
Step 1: A confidential Step 1 meeting is held with the Department Head (or Director, Assoc. Librarian, etc), a WUFA Grievance Officer and the member to discuss the issue and determine if a resolution can be reached.
If the grievor does not think the matter is resolved, he/she must write to the Faculty Association within a further 10 working days and request that the complaint move to Step 2.
In the meantime, the Grievance Officer will provide a report to the Grievance Committee, and a decision will be made whether or not a violation of the Collective Agreement has occurred. The Grievance Committee makes a decision about whether the grievance should go forward to Step 2. If the recommendation is to proceed, a written grievance will be drawn up by WUFA and the member will be asked to review it for accuracy, plus sign with a document which outlines the Association’s policy on confidentiality of the grievance process. Alternatively, the Grievance Committee may suggest other methods to resolve the issue outside of the grievance process.
Step 2 : At Step 2, the Faculty Association officially owns the grievance and will make decisions concerning all offers of settlement. At the Step 2 level, the parties to the grievance are the Faculty Association and the University of Windsor, meaning the Faculty Association is now responsible for carrying the grievance, not the member. A formal, confidential discussion is held with the Dean or Chief Librarian, the VP Grievance and the member to determine if a resolution is possible. The results of the meeting are discussed at the Grievance Committee, and a decision is made whether or not to proceed to Step 3. This step can take upwards of a month to occur depending on the availability of all parties to meet.
Step 3 : A formal, confidential meeting between the Vice President Academic and the VP Grievance is held to attempt a resolution to the grievance. The member does not attend this meeting. A number of meetings may occur to discuss the issue. Depending on the outcome, the Grievance Committee decides if the case should be closed or moved forward to Arbitration if no settlement is reached. This step can take upwards of a month to occur depending on the availability of all parties to meet.
Arbitration: If the Grievance Committee recommends proceeding to arbitration, they notify the Executive Committee and information about the complaint will be shared with the members of the Executive. The Executive Committee decides whether a case should be taken to arbitration. They will consider the issue at hand and its impact within the context of the Collective Agreement and on the membership as a whole. The cost of arbitration is borne by the Association and this is also considered in the decision. If the Executive Committee turns down the reocmmendation to proceed to arbitration, the member has the right to appeal that decision to the Faculty Council. If the recommendation is upheld, the member will attend the arbitration, WUFA provides legal counsel for the case and the arbitrator’s decision will be available in the public domain once rendered. Most arbitration cases begin approximately 1- 2 years after the Step 3 meeting has been held due to the backlog of cases and availability of all legal parties to meet. Arbitration hearings can be conducted over a number of months. The decision of the Arbitrator is final and binding on all parties. Arbitration decisions are in the public domain and the Faculty Association will disclose the results as necessary with the membership.
For a more detailed description of the grievance process, please see Article 39 of the Collective Agreement.
Frequently Asked Question: What is an Arbitration?
Arbitration is the ‘next step’ when all avenues are exhausted and there appears to be no agreement to resolve an employment issue through the normal grievance procedures, Steps 1 through 3 (Article 39). It involves taking the issue before an impartial person (the arbitrator) and going through a quasi-judicial hearing in order to get a ruling on the matter. The decision of the arbitrator is final and binding on both parties.
A decision to proceed to arbitration is presented to the Executive Committee by the Grievance Committee. If the Executive Committee or Faculty Council votes that a grievance shall proceed to arbitration, then WUFA proceeds with the arbitration. This involves hiring a lawyer which is paid for by the Faculty Association. The member will be advised of a decision to proceed to arbitration. Legal counsel is retained to advise WUFA, and individual access to WUFA's legal counsel is only available with the permission of WUFA. The member has an obligation to cooperate and assist legal counsel in preparing the case for the arbitration hearing, and counsel acts on the union's behalf at the hearing. It is important to note that it is the Faculty Association that ‘owns’ the grievance during the arbitration process, and not the member. However, the member does have an active role at the arbitration hearing by attending, providing consultation, and verifying incidents or documents that may be discussed.
Normally the first date of an arbitration hearing can take a year or more to convene. In that period of time there might be an opportunity for the issue to be resolved before the hearing date. Attending the hearing are the arbitrator, representatives and legal counsel for the Administration, the grievor, and representatives and legal counsel for the Faculty Association. At the first day of a hearing, subsequent meeting dates are normally agreed upon by the parties. At the end of an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator has up to 90 days to provide his or her written ruling.
In some cases WUFA may wish to proceed to arbitration even if the member is not in agreement. Such cases may arise where the grievance may have a general application or the interpretation could have an effect on other pending or future grievances. Access to information and grievance files will be available on an ‘as needed basis’ in order to present the grievance at arbitration. WUFA shall inform the member in writing of its intent to proceed.
All grievance files will be accessed only through the WUFA office. Although the material submitted by members will be treated confidentially, decisions from the various grievance steps will be made available to Executive Committee or Faculty Council if arbitration is recommended by the Grievance Committee. The WUFA VP Grievance Chair, President and Administrative Officer all assist with the preparation of cases and will provide any background research or assistance necessary. The WUFA Office will maintain the grievance files.
It is vitally important that the member cooperate, be forthright and provide full disclosure of all relevant facts and documents to the VP Grievance Chair and the President. Civility is a requirement of a successful grievance and must be observed by all parties. All arbitral decisions are public documents and may be disseminated in any way the WUFA Executive Committee considers appropriate.
Appealing a Grievance Decision
If the Grievance Committee decides not to proceed with a grievance at any step, a member has the right to appeal that decision to the Executive Committee at WUFA within seven working days of receipt of the letter from the Grievance Committee indicating the decision.
Similarly, if the Grievance Committee decides not recommend that a grievance go to arbitration, a mamber has the right to appeal that decision to the Executive Committee. In the event the Executive Committee upholds the decision of the Grievance Committee, you have a further right of appeal to Faculty Council. If Faculty Council does not decide to proceed to arbitration, you have the right to file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
If the Executive Committee or Faculty Council votes to support your appeal, they will instruct the Grievance Committee to resume the case and you will have full representation by the Faculty Association as the case goes forward to the next stage.
This is the Grievance Appeal Process as described in the Faculty Association’s Constitution and Bylaws :
Faculty Association Constitution and Bylaws – The Grievance Appeal Process, Bylaw 8B(c)
(i) to Executive Committee
Should the Grievance Committee decide against taking action on a particular complaint that has been informally discussed at Step One of the Grievance Procedure or a grievance filed under the Collective Agreement, the complainant/grievor may appeal to the Executive Committee by notifying the Association within seven working days of receiving the decision. The Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, shall explain the decision of the Grievance Committee to the Executive Committee. The complainant/grievor may make an oral and/or a written presentation to the Executive Committee. At the discretion of the complainant/grievor, he/she may be accompanied by an advocate during an oral presentation. The advocate shall be a member of the Association and shall enjoy all rights accorded to the complainant/grievor during the presentation. Prior to the presentation, the complainant/grievor, or his/her advocate, shall be privy to all documents that were available to the Grievance Committee when they rendered their decision on the complaint/grievance. Both the Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, and the complainant/grievor shall be present to respond to all questions raised. The complainant/grievor, the Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, and any members who took part in either the discussion or the voting on the matter at the Grievance Committee shall then withdraw from the room. The Executive shall continue its discussion and vote on the appeal by secret ballot. Members of the Grievance Committee who are on the Executive may participate in the discussion and may vote only if they did not take part in either the discussion or the vote on the matter at the Grievance Committee.
(ii) to Council
Should the Executive Committee decide not to proceed with the complaint or grievance under 8.22(b)(ii) or 8.22(c)(i), the complainant/grievor or the Grievance Committee may appeal to Council by notifying the Association within seven working days of receiving the decision. The Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, shall explain the decision of the Grievance and Executive Committees to Council. The complainant/grievor may make an oral and/or written presentation to Council. At the discretion of the complainant/grievor, he/she may be accompanied by an advocate during an oral presentation. The advocate shall be a member of the Association and shall enjoy all rights accorded to the complainant/grievor during the presentation. Prior to the presentation, the complainant/grievor, or his/her advocate, shall be privy to all documents that were available to the Grievance Committee when they rendered their decision on the complaint/grievance. Both the Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, and the complainant/grievor shall be present to respond to all questions raised. The complainant/grievor, the Vice-President, Grievance, or his/her delegate, and any members who took part in either the discussion or voting concerning the matter at either the Executive or Grievance Committee shall then withdraw from the room. The Council shall continue its discussion and vote on the appeal by secret ballot. Members of the Grievance Committee or the Executive may participate in Council’s discussion and vote on an appeal of a decision taken at the Executive or Grievance Committees only if they did not take part in either the discussion or the vote on the matter at the Executive or Grievance Committees. For purposes of voting on the appeal, the quorum of Council members shall be taken from those members eligible to vote on this matter ((the full membership of Council = 39 minus the number of members of the Executive Committee = 12) divided by three). The minimum number will therefore fluctuate around nine depending on the size of Council.
If both Executive Committee and Faculty Council deny the grievance appeal, the member is entitled to present his/her case to the Ontario Labour Board at his/her own expense.
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