Wants Backpay for All

I filed a grievance demanding that the company pay “all affected workers” who had been denied holiday pay. My business agent told me the grievance would only cover the members who personally signed it. I say he’s full of it. Who’s right?

–Teamster Steward

Dear Steward,

You’re right. And it’s not a close call.

If your BA was right, then management could get away with violating an employee’s rights every time, as long as they could intimidate him or her out of signing a grievance. That would make for a pretty toothless grievance procedure.

The contract is an agreement between management and our union—not between management and individual workers. The grievance procedure is a tool that gives the union the right to protest and resolve violations of the contract by management.

As a steward, it’s especially your job to police the contract and file grievances when management violates members’ rights. But any Teamster can file a grievance on behalf of themselves or other employees.

Tactically, it can be a good idea to get a large number of members to sign a grievance. Group grievances are a personal favorite of the Troublemaker. I use them to send management the message that lots of members are concerned about a problem and we want it resolved.

But even when I’m filing a group grievance, I use the language “all affected employees” to make sure that the grievance covers everyone, not just the members who signed it.

As always, the The Legal Rights of Union Stewards by labor attorney Robert Schwartz is a useful source of info on this issue. You can order a copy from TDU.

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Zoom Call for IBT Election Volunteers on Saturday, August 14

TDU will hold a national zoom call on Saturday, Aug. 14 for Teamsters who are volunteering to elect the O’Brien-Zuckerman Teamsters United Slate. Join candidates, campaign coordinators and Teamster activists for an update and to make plans to Get Out the Vote and win this fall. Click here to register. 

Central States Assets Fall – But Relief is Coming!

The assets of the Central States Pension Fund fell to $9.8 billion at the end of March, a drop of $573 million in the first quarter.  The fund projects forward that it will pay $2.83 billion in pension benefits this year, while taking in $651 million in employer contributions.

View More News Posts