Grieving discipline is one of the most sensitive and important things you will do as a steward. A person’s reputation and self-esteem may be on the line, or even their job.
Procedures for grieving discipline vary from employer to employer. The labor agreement will give you some idea what these procedures are.
Timeliness is especially crucial when grieving discipline. You never want to be in the position of telling a member that his or her discipline cannot be grieved because you missed the deadline.
Discipline can be a highly personal matter from the viewpoint of the grievant. Respect their feelings; use discretion in discussing their case with others.
It is very important to take good notes when investigating discipline. It is also important to keep an open mind. In some cases, a member may simply acknowledge the discipline was warranted. In other cases, a thorough investigation may be required to determine if there was sufficient cause for the discipline. In the course of your investigation, the facts may lead you to conclude that the discipline was warranted. But if the facts suggest the discipline was unfair, your notes will become a vital part of the grievance.
While every situation seems different, discipline in the workplace generally falls into one of several basic categories. These include:
- Absenteeism and tardiness.
- Work performance.
- Rule violations.
- Off-duty conduct.
- Personal appearance.
For a thorough discussion of these issues, an excellent resource is The Union Steward’s Complete Guide,” edited by David Prosten and available through www.unionist.com.