Horsetrading Grievances

For the last two months, I can’t get any of my grievances on excessive OT paid. My BA is waiving the penalty pay and taking a promise from the company that it won’t happen again. I think he’s trading away my grievances. Is there anything I can do?

- Not Horsing Around

It’s never supposed to happen—but we all know grievances get “horse-traded” sometimes. UPS management has even been known to step up violations in order to create more grievances it can trade away.

There’s no magic wand to stop horse-trading. But there are some steps you can take to improve the situation.

First of all, you’ve got to stick to your guns. Let your BA know you really care about the grievance, and you’re not going away—call him, talk to him after your union meeting. Be helpful and suggest witnesses to interview.

A lot of horse-trading in freight and UPS takes places at the regional panel meetings where our officials and the employers get together to decide on grievances (and sometimes eat, drink, and golf together, too).

You have the right to attend your panel hearing—at your own expense. Going to a panel could make it harder for your grievance to be traded away.

When we have a grievance that everyone cares about, we take up a collection to help the member pay for gas and a hotel room.

It’s really easy for management and the union to push your issue to the side if you’re the only one raising a stink. If you can get more members involved, it’s going to be harder for them to sideline you. That is probably the single most important answer to your question.

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