Important Links and Forms

Grievance Basics

  • To put it simply, the grievance process is part of our collective bargaining agreement with our employer, the UC, and gives our union the ability to address and resolve contract violations and workplace issues. We rely on you, as union members, to report contract violations and workplace issues to any of our elected officers. Always contact an elected campus union representative as soon as possible if you suspect you have a potential grievance (there is a 30 day time limit in which to file a grievance should you decide to). A union rep has training in understanding the contract and can help advise you in accordance with your unique situation. Talking to a union rep is confidential and does not obligate you to take any action. Also, it is important to bear in mind that union representatives are not university employees. We represent only you as the academic worker and not your employer, the university. Should you decide to formally file a grievance, your union rep can help you do this. Contact a union representative here.
  • Workplace protections and common grievances
    • Workload: Most often, teaching assistants are asked to do work that requires more time than they are hired for. For a 50% TAship, you should not be working more the 220 hours for the quarter, no more than 20 hours per week, and no more than 8 hours a day. If you suspect you are working over your hours, please fill out a workload grid to track your hours and estimate your hours for the quarter.
    • Appointments: Our contract states that you must be informed at least 30 days prior to an appointment. Addressing this issue allows our union to fix problematic departments and ensures that we as academic-workers have adequate time to plan our finances since our livelihood often depends on these paid appointments.
    • Harassment and Discrimination: Cases of discrimination are also, unfortunately, quite common. If you suspect this or any other issue please do not hesitate to contact a campus union representative immediately and they can advise you on what your rights are.
  • If I formally file a grievance, what can I expect from the grievance process?

    There are multiple stages in the grievance process ranging from informal to formal. The first move is talking to a campus union representative about your situation. Talking to a union rep is confidential and does not obligate you to take any action. After that, these are the following steps as outlined in the contract:

    ***You are entitled to union representation at every stage in the grievance process***

    Step 1 (Optional)

    • You may discuss the issue with your immediate supervisor, invoking your rights under the contract. Many potential grievances are resolved this way, in many cases your supervisor may not realize a violation of contract is taking place and will move to correct it before further action is taken. It is best to raise any concerns as they become apparent. Generally, departments want to be in accordance with the contract and will work with you to amicably resolve any issues.

    Step 2

    • At this step, a formal grievance is filed by your union representative (with your permission) with the office of Labor Relations. This step usually takes place after a step 1 discussion has happened and the department disagrees that there was a violation of contract or refuses to correct the situation to be in accordance with the contract.
    • NOTE: A grievance must be filed within 30 calendar days of when the worker could be reasonably expected to know of an event or action to gave rise to the grievance.
    • Usually, a Step 2 meeting is called where information about the grievance is presented. The people present at this meeting are generally the grievant, a union representative, a labor relations representative, and a representative from graduate division, but it depends on the specific situation.

    Step 3

    • If the grievance has not been solved at Step 2, the grievant and/or the UAW representative may file an appeal to the labor relations office. There may be another meeting at this step to present further information on the case. Most grievances are generally settled in this step or before.

    Appeal to Arbitration

    • If all else fails, the UAW may appeal to arbitration, where a third party judges whether there has been a violation of contract and what the remedy should be.

    We have been very successful with the grievance process as outlined above. Most grievance cases reach a settlement that both the university and the union/grievant can agree to.

  • What information should I keep track of?

    Generally, it is good to hold on to your hiring letter, description of duties checklist, and any communications between you and your supervisor or others who may be involved. Emails should be saved and for relevant in-person conversations, the dates should be noted down along with a description of what was said. For workload cases, please fill out a workload grid with estimates of your hours for the entire quarter based on how much time your work has taken you so far.

  • Do I need to be afraid of retaliation? What are my protections against this?

    The fear of speaking out against a possible contract violation is understandable, however, in many cases, the department or supervisor is not even aware that a violation is taking place and will strive to correct it before any official grievance action is taken. Even after a grievance is filed, the department and the union are able to find a solution to the issue that is mutually agreeable.

    Academic student workers are protected from retaliation under the contract and in many cases, teaching assistants involved in grievances did indeed continue to be hired in the same department where the grievance occurred.

    The grievance process is part of what teaching assistants have fought for in order to defend their rights under the contract and it is a tool that works.

  • Please click here for additional Grievance Information. If you have any questions about the grievance process, get in touch with our union reps, or click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s