Presentation on theme: "2014 Shop Steward Training & Leadership Conference St. Peter’s College – September 12, 2014."— Presentation transcript:
2014 Shop Steward Training & Leadership Conference St. Peter’s College – September 12, 2014
USWU/IUJAT 2014 Shop Steward Training and Leadership Conference September 12, 2014 9:15 Back to the basics –What is a grievance? –How to handle a Step 1/Step 2 grievance. 10:30 Group Activity –Each group will research grievance(s) and discuss their conclusions for presentation to the assembly. 11:15Grievance Presentation –Each group will present their conclusion to the group for discussion and debate. 12:15 Lunch 1:00 Leadership Conference –What is the Future of the Bergen County Unions? 1:15Committee Assignments –Each group will explore and discuss their assigned subject for presentation to the assembly. 2:15 Presentations and Open Discussion –How do we promote Justice in the Workplace? –How do we promote better participation in Union activities? –How do we address fear in the workplace? –How involved should the Locals be in Elections and Politics? 4:15 Close
Here are some tips for the Steward: First of all, remember that as a Steward you have the support of the Union, both the national union USWU/IUJAT and your Local 755 President and Executive Board and our full time Union Representative. That means that if you don’t know the answer to questions or are not familiar with procedures, ask your Union Representative. With your position comes a huge responsibility and you need to be able to provide the right answers to members and follow the correct procedures in your dealings with management. Your members will respect you for following this simple advice. Take your time. Listen carefully. Write things down. Buy yourself a spiral notebook and begin to document your activities. If you investigate a grievance, write down the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, why... and how) in your notebook or on the grievance fact sheet that the local provides with the grievance form. Be on your toes. You will be tested by management the moment you become a steward. Think of it as hazing. But don’t give in. Act professional and be aware of your rights. Your supervisor or manager will probably try to tell you what you can or cannot do as a steward. Remember you are hearing this information from a self-serving and biased source. Know your rights. You are management’s equal in all matters relating to the contract and the union- employer relationship. Your contract may outline some of your rights as a steward but much of it has a legal basis. That means the “sit down and shut up” mentality of some supervisors is incorrect, unprofessional, and in some cases downright illegal. If you are denied rights which make your defense of a member impossible, make sure your Business Representative is aware of this situation—immediately. Check out your Steward Guide on a regular basis for grievance guidance. As you read over it, highlight those items of particular interest. Keep a file for them so that you can easily refer back to them when needed.
You are a representative of USWU to your members. Introduce yourself and greet new hires. Be the strongest advocate for the union on the property. Pass along information from your local. Squelch any rumor before it spreads. Work together with your local’s officers. That means the politics of the past union election, if there was one, is over. You are part of the team. If a member comes to you with a complaint that could be grievable, investigate it quickly and professionally. Resolve the issue in the quickest and fairest way. Don’t make the member wait unnecessarily for an answer. Tell him/her that you will get back to them with an answer and then get back to them. If the issue is not grievable, see if there is a way to resolve it. If there is no grievance, be honest with the member but explain why the issue is not a grievance under your agreement. Work with other stewards so that they are aware of the issues you have been presented with. You don’t want a member going behind your back to another steward because he/she did not agree with your decision not to press a complaint. Read everything you can about your work— the daily newspaper and labor books. Make sure education is part of your union’s regular business.
Discipline Major V. Minor Major (6 days or more) Goes to Office of Administrative Law (OAL) Grievant can pursue without the Union Minor (5 or less) Can go to Arbitration Only Union can demand Arbitration Based on Merit Unlikely a written warning will go to PERC Burden of Proof is on THE EMPLOYER Employer must establish “JUST CAUSE” Does not have to be “beyond a reasonable doubt” See the “Daugherty’s 7 Tests”
Daugherty’s 7 Tests Was the employee forewarned of the consequences of his or her actions? Is there a policy in place? Ignorance of the rules is not always an excuse. Are the employer's rules reasonably related to business efficiency and performance the employer might reasonably expect from the employee? Was the employee asked to do something illegal or dangerous? If an employee has a REASONBLE belief that something is illegal or unsafe, they are protected from an insubordination charge. Otherwise, the rule is: Do it now … grieve it later. Was an effort made before discipline or discharge to determine whether the employee was guilty as charged? Was the investigation conducted fairly and objectively? Did the employer obtain substantial evidence of the employee's guilt? Were the rules applied fairly and without discrimination? Generally, What is good for one employee should be good for all. Be certain to compare apples to apples. Do not invoke the “But everybody speeds defense”. You must show that the employer was aware of similar behavior and intentionally did not enforce the rules. Avoid throwing other members under the bus. Was the degree of discipline reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee's offense and the employee's past record? NOTE: The County generally follows a policy of Progressive Discipline. The objective is to help the employee improve. If the offense is serious, the employer does not have to follow Progressive Discipline.
A Violation of Law may be better addressed in different forum. – Discrimination County Policy addresses these concerns. They should file complaint and allow the employer to investigate. EEOC – Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (Federal) LAD – Law Against Discrimination Division (NJ) – Wage and Hour issues should be addressed in contract but can be reported to State/Federal Government Wage and Hour Division. (Usually has a 2 year limitation.) – Workers Compensation Work place Injury is addressed in contract Recommend speaking to a WC attorney for serious injury since it will protect the employee over a longer period of time. Violation of Contract, Policy, Practice or Law Contract Violations are main responsibility of the Union. Consistency creates the sentinel effect. If the employer knows you are watching, they are less likely to attempt violating the contract. Burden of proof is on THE GRIEVANT. Independent Arbitration is final and binding. Union may opt not to arbitrate. It is not the decision of the grievant. Violation of Past Practice Past Practice must meet the criteria: A course of conduct that is the understood and accepted by the Employer and the Union, Must be consistent over an extended period of time
Grievance V. Gripe A Shop Steward may get more gripes than Grievances. We are advocates. – But we can’t make all the people happy all the time – Listen to the member and brainstorm possible answers – See the big picture – Talk to other Stewards to see how they might handle things – Ask grievant to outline the details and what they a see a resolution. We try to be problem solvers – Know your members – Remain unbiased – Develop a relationship with the employer and your members – Gain the employees and the employers respect
The 5 W’s ( Essential Information for Filing a Grievance) And last, but not least, HOW: How does the employer remedy the grievance/complaint? What adjustments are necessary to correct the situation? How can you return the aggrieved worker to the same condition had the violation not occurred? 1-WHO: Who was involved in the grievance? List name, department, job classification, shift. Include the name of the management representatives involved. 2-WHAT: What is the grievant’s story? Management position? The reports of witnesses? Collect all the facts you can, always looking for “hard” facts but accepting and weighing “soft” facts and different versions. 3-WHEN: When did the incident or condition occur? Give dates and times as accurately as possible. When in doubt, use “On or about”. 4-WHERE: Where did the grievance take place? Give the exact location, department, area, etc. 5-WHY: Why is this a grievance? What has been violated? The contract? Federal, state, municipal laws? Past practice? Workers’ rights? Previous ruling or awards?
Reminders about Grievance Filing – “This is a violation of, at least but not limited to …” – Every grievance should state what the grievant expects as a resolution. – Every grievance is 50/50. – Don’t make promises or predictions – Take notes. Witnesses – Witnesses are not really reliable – We all bring our own bias to anything we witness. – They can change their tune. An initial discipline meeting – In discipline, wait for the evidence before you start your arguments. – Don’t talk too much – LISTEN!! – Don’t ask question you don’t know the answer to – Advise client to limit their comments – Do not ask client to lie – You can always ask for a ‘caucus’ (break) to confer further with the client. BE TIMELY! Every grievance must have a beginning, middle and END! – DO NOT SIT ON A GRIEVANCE – If the employee asks you to wait, advise them of the time issues and follow up in writing. » You do not want the grievant to claim you dropped the ball. – Even though there aren’t specific time limits to filing a grievance, an Arbitrator may still rule a grievance as untimely » If the Grievant was aware of the problem but chose not to grieve it.
Out of Title Work Grievant Joe comes to you complaining about his workload. He is permanent in his title of CLERK 2. A few years back his division was reduced due to layoff. He now has to do the work he had to do before and he also has to do the work of the previous CLERK 3 that was laid off. He has been doing this typ of work for the past fourteen months. His previous co-worker was responsible for putting together PowerPoint presentations for special events and SKYPE meetings once a month. That same worker also did similar work as Joe, entering Data, Typing letters, and other Clerical work. When the layoff occurred, the supervisor mentioned that things were going to get difficult and asked that everyone ‘chip in’ to keep things running smoothly. Joe taught himself PowerPoint art night and volunteered his talent when the first event after the layoff was scheduled. The Supervisor thanked him for volunteering and stated “This kind of teamwork will be rewarded. Keep up the good work”. The amount of work Joe does is more than he did before. He has, once a month, worked additional hours and has been paid for those additional hours as overtime.
She was previously allowed because she asked for a special accommodation to take care of her husband who had recently had a stroke. Her husband had the stroke 2 years ago. What questions do you need to ask the grievant? What should the Union’s position be? (What clauses of the contract apply?) What laws may apply? Accommodating Sue Grievant Sue comes to you, as Shop Steward, stating that she is no longer allowed to schedule her lunch at 1:30. In the past, she was allowed to combine her two breaks with her half hour lunch and take lunch between 1:30 and 2:30. Sue is a receptionist for the division. There were two receptionists, but one has retired and now Sue is covered by clerical staff and counselors when she takes her breaks. Management has informed her that she will now take lunch at 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm. \
Respondent, -and- Docket No. CO-2009-158 COUNCIL OF NEW JERSEY STATE COLLEGE LOCALS, AFT, AFL-CIO, KEAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, Charging Party. SYNOPSIS The Public Employment Relations Commission finds that Kean University violated the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, specifically N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.4a(5), by failing to negotiate in good faith with the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, AFT, AFL-CIO, Kean Federation of Teachers (KFT) over an increase in office hours. The Commission orders the University to negotiate prospectively in good faith with the KFT over the office hours and/or compensation for increased office hours for faculty and department Chairs. The Commission adopts the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation dismissing the 5.4a(3) allegation in the Complaint that the University violated the Act by increasing office hours in retaliation for protected activity. The Commission finds that the University was motivated by a plan to increase graduation rates through enhanced student advisement time.
IT IS ORDERED: A. That the University cease and desist from: 1. Refusing to negotiate in good faith with a majority representative of employees in an appropriate unit concerning terms and conditions of employment particularly by refusing to negotiate with the Charging Party over an increase in office hours for faculty and department Chairs. B. That the Respondent take the following affirmative action: 1. Negotiate prospectively and in good faith with the Charging Party on demand until agreement or impasse over the office hours and/or compensation for increased office hours for faculty and department Chairs. 2. Post in all places where notices to employees are customarily posted, copies of the attached notice marked as Appendix A. Copies of such notice shall, after being signed by the Respondent’s authorized representative, be posted immediately and maintained by it for at least sixty (60) consecutive days.
Gift Horse? The County Executive has closed One Bergen Plaza due to a power outage. The air conditioner shut down and the building was getting hot. Employees were sent home with pay two hours after the outage. Sara was sick and went home an hour before the Administration closed the building. Sara had mentioned to her co-worker that she was feeling ill because she doesn’t deal with the heat very well. When she left, she only told her Supervisor that she wasn’t feeling well. She never mentioned the heat. The administration does not want to pay her for the hours that the other workers were paid. They insist she use her own time. Additionally, employees in other locations worked and some of the employees work in Hackensack and were sent to other locations to work. June was one of those workers. Barb works as an inspector. She works in the field most of the time, but is part of the Division located at One Bergen Plaza. Her Co-workers were sent home while she worked the full day. Workers on Vacation or Sick were still charged that time from their bank.
Does Past Practice Apply? Where the contract language is ambiguous or the contract is silent, past practice can be used to give the contract meaning. Several questions need to asked about past practices: Is there mutuality in the practice? What is the history of the practice? Is the practice clear and consistent? How many times has it been repeated? Has it been a widely accepted practice? What conditions gave rise to the practice and have those conditions changed?
Life Happens! Russell was written up for being late on a regular basis. He is late at least 15 minutes, at least twice a week. The Supervisor gives him a letter that states: “Dear R. Crowe, It has come to my attention that you have been late on many occasions, sometimes as much as fifteen minutes (15). This is unacceptable. County policy does not allow for chronic lateness. If this continues, it may lead to further discipline up to and possibly including Suspension, Docking of Pay and possible Termination. Please sign and acknowledge receipt of this letter. Sincerely, Hugh Jackman, Supervisor” Russell is livid! He wants this removed from his file. He admits it’s true, but it’s because his dog has been sick and he must give him pills every morning at the same time before work. Additionally, there is now construction on his way to work. Is this a grievance? What can the Union do?
You Can’t Do Union Work? Based on the general concept that management is not supposed to do ‘union’ work, Shop Steward Samantha filed a grievance on behalf of the most Senior Nursing member in the overtime rotation. At the Nursing Home, one of the Nurses called in sick one hour before her shift. Management first consulted with the Supervising Nurses to see if they wanted to fill in. When they were unavailable, the D.O.N decided that she would fill the shift. Samantha filed the grievance because at least two of her members would have agreed to work had they been asked. In both cases, it would have caused overtime. The Union’s argument is that since it was ‘Union work’, it should have been given to Union members. Management argues that it is not required to offer overtime and there is no contractual language forbidding the D.O.N from filling in. It was also an emergency situation since they only had an hour to fill the shift and therefore this was the most efficient way to solve their dilemma. Questions: Is there such a thing as ‘Union Work?”? What question need to be asked? What arguments might you present?
STATE OF NEW JERSEY BEFORE THE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION In the Matter of TOWNSHIP OF PLAINSBORO, Petitioner, -and- Docket No. SN-2012-001 TEAMSTERS LOCAL 701, Respondent. SYNOPSIS The Public Employment Relations Commission grants the request of the Township of Plainsboro for a restraint of binding arbitration of a grievance filed by Teamsters Local 701. The grievance alleges the Township violated the parties’ collective negotiations agreement when the assistant foreman performed work customarily performed by unit employees. The Commission holds that the grievance is not arbitrable as the Township has a managerial prerogative to complete a project in an efficient and timely manner.