Grievance FAQ

What is a grievance?

The Union exists to protect the working conditions of its members. If there is a dispute about working conditions between the Employer (UMD/UMN) and union members, then the Grievance Officer can start a process (the “grievance procedure” outlined in the CBA starting in section 801.000) to attempt to resolve that dispute. A dispute about working conditions might be related to your contract, how you are treated in your Department/College, discipline taken against you, and other conditions of your employment. For something to rise to the level of a fileable grievance it must violate a specific section of the CBA. A grievance always has a request for a specific and concrete resolution to the issue. The grievance procedure is just one of many tools UEA-D uses to strive for good working conditions for members.

Who is the Grievance Officer and what is their role? 

The Grievance Officer holds a seat on the Union Executive Committee and is the point person for all grievances at UMD. The Grievance Officer’s job is to listen to a member’s concern about working conditions, review the CBA to determine if the issue merits a grievance procedure, consult with EducationMinnesota (our parent union) about specifics of the grievance, and communicate with the grieving member(s) throughout the entire process of the grievance. The Grievance Officer also works with an ad-hoc committee approximately 4 other UEA-D members to consult on issues related to grievances.

Can I file a grievance if I am not a dues-paying member of the Union?

Yes! UEA-D exists to protect all faculty members (both regular and term) who have 35% or higher appointments, whether they pay dues or not. If you are eligible to be a member of the union and want to learn more about becoming a dues-paying member, please click here, or talk to a union member in your department. If you are a UMD staff member (not faculty), you may be covered by the two other unions present at UMD – AFSCME and Teamsters.

What should I do if I think I have a grievance?

If you think your working conditions violate an aspect of the CBA you can speak confidentially with any member of the Union, the Union Executive Committee, or the Grievance Officer. The Grievance Officer will meet with you to discuss the specifics of the issue, review the CBA with you to determine if the issue rises to the level of a grievance, and then, if appropriate, will begin the grievance process. 

What happens when a grievance is filed?

There are four steps to the grievance process with opportunities to resolve the grievance at each of the steps. Specifics about the steps are in the CBA starting in Section 801.310. In short, almost all grievances start at Step One with a written statement to the Principal Administrator (generally, the Dean of your College) that outlines the grievance, the specific sections of the CBA that have been violated, and the requested resolution. Within 15 calendar days of submitting the grievance there will be a meeting between the Grievance Officer and the Principal Administrator to attempt to resolve the grievance. The Principal Administrator then has 15 calendar days from that meeting to issue a decision. If the grievance is not resolved, it can move to Step Two. Step Two is a similar process involving the Chancellor or their designee. If the grievance is not resolved at Step Two, the Union can move to Step Three. Step Three is similar to the previous steps and involves the President or their designee. If the grievance is not resolved at Step Three the Union may move to Step Four, which is arbitration. 

I have a grievance from ten years ago. Can I still file?

Maybe, but probably not. The CBA outlines specific time frames for grievances. Please see the CBA for specifics, but generally, the grievance process must begin at Step One and must begin within 30 days of when the grievant, through use of reasonable diligence, had or should have had knowledge of the events which give rise to the grievance. 

What happens if my grievance is denied?

It is possible your grievance can be denied at Steps One, Two, or Three. If this happens the Grievance Officer will consult with you at each Step to determine if you would like to move forward in the process. Decisions about moving from Step Three to arbitration involve more consideration with the Union Executive Committee, the Grievance Committee, and EducationMinnesota.

What other tools do I have if I feel my working conditions need improvement?

Sometimes an issue with working conditions doesn’t rise to the level of a fileable grievance, but UEA-D may still be able to do something about it! For example, working conditions for term faculty can often be described as unfavorable, but it is difficult to find specific violations of the CBA. In this case, UEA-D might undertake an organizing campaign to try to shift working conditions through pressure. The Grievance Process is just one tool that UEA-D uses to ensure the well-being of members.