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Michael R. Carrell & Christina Heavrin Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Seventh Edition www.prenhall.com/carrell PART IV: The Labor Relations Process in Action CHAPTER 10 Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures © 2007 Prentice Hall Inc. All rights reserved
Chapter Outline Sources of Employee Grievances Steps in a Grievance Procedure Functions of Grievance Procedures Employee Misconduct Disciplinary Procedures Nonunion Grievance Procedures Grievance Mediation Public Sector Grievance Issues
Labor News GRIEVANCES INCREASE 44% IN NEW YORK HOTELS In 2005 the NY Hotel Association (149 hotels) reported 597 grievances during the previous year Why?: increased workloads, according to the New York Hotel Trades Council president Key issue: expanded duties-- cleaning coffee pots & triple-sheeting beds in 14 rooms per day NY desk clerks and room attendants are among the highest paid in the industry: $20/hr Union has over 1,000 unemployed members
Introduction Grievance Any perceived violation of a contract provision Not just any “gripe” Grievance procedure: “Core of a continuous CB process” A specified series of four or five procedural steps that aggrieved employees, unions, and management representatives must follow when a complaint arises Mechanism for administering the collective bargaining agreement Most grievance procedures entail four or five steps Employer’s refusal to process a grievance may be a violation of the NLRA
Sources of Employee Grievances Clarifying contract provisions under changing conditions Unforeseen circumstances may change some operations Disagreement may arise on the contract provisions relevant to the new operation Support for future negotiations Union members may be encouraged to file grievances on specific matters that may be used as evidence for the need to change the contract
Rectifying a contract violation Contract cannot address all possible circumstances Contract can specify how debatable issues should be resolved Most common source of grievance is the union’s honest belief that management has violated a provision of the existing contract Sources of Employee Grievances (cont.)
Sources of Employee Grievances (cont.) Show of power Union officials may need to remind members that they are representing employee interests Filing a grievance acts as a safety valve to employees who might otherwise express their normal anxiety and frustration in more harmful ways Increased pay Many grievances stem from employees’ beliefs that they are entitled to additional pay Management, on the other hand, believes that additional pay is not required
Steps in a Grievance Procedure Step 1 Employee, Steward, Supervisor Informal Resolution What happened? When did it happen? Who was involved? Where did it happen? Why is complaint a grievance? Step 2 Written Grievance Step 3 Steward, Department Head Formal Resolution Step 4 Union Grievance Committee, Director of Personnel Formal Resolution Step 5 Final and Binding Arbitration Before Neutral Arbitrator
Functions of Grievance Procedures Conflict management resolution Without grievance procedures, parties would rely on harmful tests of economic strength to resolve disputes involving contract interpretation Agreement clarification All contracts contain some unintentional ambiguity Grievance procedure used to interpret contract in specific instances Communication Offers channel to express problems and perceptions Discuss perceived inequities in the workplace
Due process Most grievances provide arbitration by neutral, third-party intervention as a final step Strength enhancement Representation in grievance cases develops members’ loyalty to their union Functions of Grievance Procedures (cont.)
Employee Misconduct A broad spectrum of offenses Serious offenses - warrant immediate discharge under normal circumstances without the necessity of prior warnings or attempts at corrective action Minor offenses - utilize corrective action Do not discharge after first offense, provide multiple levels Specify escalating penalties for additional offenses
Arbitrators decide employee misconduct cases on the basis of: Management’s consistent enforcement of the pertinent rules Management’s compliance with the contract’s disciplinary procedures The employee’s work history An employee’s length of service with the company Employee Misconduct (cont.)
Employee Misconduct (cont) Damaging Property Gambling Dishonesty Fighting/ Violence Garnishment Off-duty misconduct Most Common Examples Sleeping or loafing on the job Dress / Grooming & Discourtesy Moonlighting Horseplay
Employer Misconduct (cont.) Minor offenses Penalty for minor offenses determined by how often it has occurred Progressive discipline for minor offenses First offense - oral warning Second offense - written warning Third offense - second written warning and suspension without pay Fourth offense - termination Incident removed from the employee’s record if it is not repeated for a certain period of time
Employee Misconduct (cont.) Serious (Major) offenses: Certain actions can lead to immediate discharge for the first offense: Discharge must be for “just cause” Serious offenses are usually identified in the contract “workplace equivalent of capital punishment” Arbitrators expect both parties to carefully adhere to the letter and spirit of the contract.
Disciplinary Procedures Every company at some time must administercorrective discipline Both labor and management should support fair and effective disciplinary policies Virtually all collective bargaining agreements outline disciplinary procedures Management views the right and ability to discipline its employees effectively as the heart of maintaining a productive workforce Protection from biased or arbitrary discipline has been a prime motive of union organizing campaigns
Disciplinary Procedures (cont.) Explain company rules Discipline without discharge Get the facts Consider employee’s past record Give adequate warning Ascertain motive Recommended disciplinary policies Act timely
Face-to-face counseling by supervisor is of critical importance Should provide the worker with feedback State the problem State the preferred action State future expectations Describe disciplinary action Labor-Management Relations Act Provides restrictions on employee discipline Prohibits discipline for union-related activity Prohibits discipline against stewards for giving assistance in the filing of a grievance Disciplinary Procedures (cont.)
Grievance Mediation A voluntary last step before arbitration Offers the opportunity for a neutral, third party to assist the parties to reach their own settlement It is not a substitute for the process Advantages Faster resolution of issues compared to arbitration Both parties may present their case to mediator Enables both parties to reevaluate their cases before proceeding to arbitration Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service provides the service without charge
Grievance Mediation (cont.) • 2005 study of 3,387 cases over 24 years supports the use of grievance mediation in comparison to arbitration: • Cost savings. The average cost of mediation was $672 compared to $3,202 for arbitration • Time savings. The average time to mediate a case was 43.5 days – compared to 473 days to arbitrate • Satisfaction with process. The participants who were “highly satisfied” with mediation included: 89% management, 68% union, and 47% grievants • Increased ability to resolve grievances. Participants (83%) indicated they were better able to resolve future grievances because they learned how to communicate better
Public- and private-sector grievances processed in the same way At the federal, state, and local levels, grievance arbitration procedures are very similar to the private sector Grievance arbitration has proved to be a more useful means of contract enforcement than strikes Expense of grievance arbitration is a concern Relationship between the parties determines the amount of disagreement regarding contract interpretation Public Sector Grievance Issues
Discipline and dismissal Government employees afforded constitutional protection Disciplining or dismissing a government employee is a form of state action Constitutionally protected acts include Privilege against self-incrimination Freedom of association Right to participate in partisan politics Freedom of expression Public sector Grievance Issues (cont.)