Grievance Handling for Federal Employees

The Trump Administration has issued a change in policy regarding official time for Union Stewards with Executive Order 13837. Due to these changes, Union Stewards may no longer be able to attend to union issues while on the job. The Union believes these changes are illegal but we advise, as always, to comply and then grieve.

Employees also have rights for official time pursuant to EEOC regulations and other areas of the law. We have seen **proposed** changes to that right but, again, we believe those proposed changes are not legally sound and as of this moment, if an employee is pursuing a “mixed” claim of Equal Employment Opportunity and Personnel Prohibitive Actions charges or a pure EEO claim, a union official will have official time to work on that case. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the President’s EOs

QUESTION: How does this affect you?

Answer. If you have an issue at work, your union representative may not be able to come to your workspace and discuss the issue with you in a timely manner.

You may have to meet with them offsite and after work hours. These changes put more responsibility on you, the employee, for the problems the employer is causing.

QUESTION: Do I still have the right to union representation?

ANSWER: Yes. As a union member, you are still protected under the law and still have the right to union representation or Weingarten Rights. This cannot be changed with an Executive Order.

However, just as before E.O. 13837, you must ask for a steward to be present if you believe the meeting or investigation could lead to discipline.

QUESTION: What is a grievance?

ANSWER: A grievance is the official statement of a complaint of a wrongdoing or unfair treatment. The wrong performed may be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement, an agency policy, law or regulation. It could also be unjust disciplinary action taken on an employee.

Not every issue you may have at work will end up being a grievance. Some wrongs may not violate the contract, but still need to be discussed and resolved. These complaints can be addressed through the grievance procedure as well.

QUESTION: What to do if you feel like you have a grievance or complaint?

ANSWER: If you feel you have been wronged by your employer and have an issue you would like addressed through the union, you need to fill out our complaint request from. Fill out the report to the best of your ability.

Do this as soon as possible while the details of the incident/issue are fresh in your head.

Also, many bargaining agreements have a timeframe in which grievances must be filed, so you need to get the paperwork filled out and turned into your union representative as quickly as possible.

Make sure to attach any supporting documents to your complaint report. This will help the union representative to track down documentation later. The official filing of the grievance will be handled by your steward or Business Representative. This ensures the language used will be able to withstand the grievance process which could include arbitration, mediation or court.

Conclusion

Although E.O. 13837 has changed the way union representatives can use their time servicing the membership, it cannot change the representation and care you receive as an IAM member.