What is a Grievance?

Source: PSAC Ontario Region and PSAC Atlantic Region

Basically, a grievance is a complaint, in writing, against actions or lack of action, of an employer in matters relating to our terms and conditions of employment. The right to grieve is a legal right outlined in the specific labour law under which you are covered.

Grievances arise when workers’ rights are violated. The initial handling of grievances is a Local concern and is one of the most important functions of the Steward. It is the job of a Steward, to make the decision as to which rights have been violated and to determine whether a grievance exists. Grievances are also very important at the bargaining table to prove the need for changes and/or additions to the collective agreement. Grievances grow out of the problems, dissatisfaction, complaints and hopes of the membership.

Types of Grievances

An individual grievance is filed where an individual matter is involved ---especially if individual financial redress is sought, for example overtime or suspension.

A group grievance is filed in instances where a group of employees have been affected in the same way by a decision of management and seek the same redress. In this instance, all of the group’s names are attached to the grievance. One example is cancellation of vacation leave.