What Triggers the Union to File Grievances
What's on the docket this spring.
The most important thing a union does is put money in members' pockets.
Current grievances are related to issues concerning holiday pay eligibility and the lump sum benefit, followed by meal money reimbursement while working at the VA.
Once a grievance has been filed, the Employer has 30 days to respond. With the VA meal money grievance, the Employer has failed to respond within 30 days (technically another violation), which forces the Union to file an Intent to Arbitrate notice and rarely do grievances get resolved at this stage.
Refusing to arbitrate a grievance is an Unfair Labor Practice. The University (Michigan Medicine), was recently found guilty of this practice and we are awaiting finalization of the order by the state.
Does every contract violation result in a grievance? Absolutely not. The Union prefers to work together with the appropriate program/GME/Labor Relations, depending on the issue, to avoid grievances. Unfortunately, since the new Agreement was implemented this past July, the Union has had to write more grievances than ever before.
In March, we are scheduled for a hearing with the state or MERC (Michigan Employment Relations Commission) regarding another Unfair Labor Practice involving disruption during last June's PGY 1 Orientation. There are four arbitrations (internal mechanism) on the calendar this spring. In February, we arbitrate the grievance over the Employer removing the HOA's information regarding the economics of being a trainee in this country, from our bulletin boards. In April, we arbitrate the Employer's refusal to allow an HOA member to serve on the Special Review Committee and finally GME's refusal to pay out the Lump Sum benefit to one of our members.
While these issues have resulted in implementing the grievance/complaint process, other issues have been appropriately addressed with no grievance. Issues such as Holiday Pay Substitution, Serious Illness benefits, Duty Hour concerns, and numerous Work Environment issues, were all addressed without grievances.