PEF adds grievance filing to online video library
By DEBORAH A. MILES
As a democratic union with a focus on helping its members in various ways, PEF launched an online video training library in November 2017. It was designed to not only encourage member engagement and activism, but as a tool to assist local council leaders and interested members who require information on the departments within PEF, and how each one plays a role in the union’s mission.
The video library, available to PEF members by logging into the PEF website’s “members only” section, is a compilation of more than a dozen videos of PEF directors and staff who explain the inner-workings of their departments, what resources are available to members, and how the departments serve the membership.
PEF has recently expanded its video library with the addition of a “How to File a Grievance” video, presented by Blair Burroughs, PEF field representative in New York City.
According to PEF leaders, stewards and field representatives, most of the inquiries they receive from members involve the grievance procedure.
In the video, Burroughs calls a grievance “a creature of the PS&T contract.” He explains which grievance form to use and refers members to Article 34 of the Agreement.
“A contract grievance is a dispute concerning the interpretation or application or claimed violation of a specific term or provision of the contract,” he said. “A non-contract grievance can be just about everything else. Performance evaluations cannot be grieved nor can probationary terminations.”
Burroughs recommends that a member, along with a steward or field representative, speak to the supervisor or the person involved and try to resolve the matter before it is in writing.
If that fails, Burroughs said a grievance has to be made in writing using the proper form, which includes the provision violated, a short statement of what occurred and the remedy sought. You must report the date it happened, and submit the form within 30 days to management.
For proof the form was submitted in a timely manner, management must also date stamp the form and provide the member with a copy.
Burroughs explains a member then meets with the manager, along with a steward or field representative. Once the meeting is concluded, management has 20 days to deliver a written response. If the grievance is denied, you only have 10 days to appeal and move forward to Step Two of the process.
“I strongly urge any member, if you receive a denial, speak to your field representative immediately so your representative can submit the denial along with other pertinent documentation that needs to be filed to proceed with Step Two,” Burroughs said. “Any delay may cause the grievance to be denied in Step Two.”
He also cautioned that managers will frequently provide you a copy, but not a copy to your field representative or steward.
“Article 34 of the contract fully explains the process. The important thing is to know your contract to alleviate some of the mystery of the grievance-filing procedure.”
You may view the grievance training video at https://www.pef.org/member-login/.