From time to time, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) Local 685 Local Executive Committee (LEC) will share with you portions of the 2020-2023 Full-Time Collective Agreement (FTCA) (until a new Agreement is reached).
Topic 1. Article 31: Complaints, Grievances, and Arbitration
Posted August 31, 2023
The precise FTCA language starts on page 99 of the Collective Agreement (2020-2023).
For the purposes of this member education message, we will focus on Individual Grievances since Group and Policy Grievances fall within the domain of the Union Executive. Complaints, grievances, and arbitration processes are currently recognized processes within the FTCA.
If you have any concern, it is important to consider documentation and action on it within a 14 calendar day period. Action does not always involve a complaint, but it should be considered. A complaint is the first step of the formal Collective Agreement (CA) defined process. To initiate a complaint, it needs to be attached to a specific numbered article within the CA. If you have questions regarding any working condition concerns that you have, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the Union Stewards for support regarding next steps. Also, please remember that a Union Steward can accompany you to any meeting with Administration as a witness or review any contract language, as you wish.
The current complaint form template is attached to this message (click here) for your reference. All individual complaints are initially discussed with the complainant’s Academic Dean or designate. Ideally, complaints will be informally resolved at this stage. A complaint needs to be filed and an initial discussion take place within the 14 calendar day period following the triggering event. Should the individual complainant decide to have Union Steward representation, the discussion should be scheduled within 14 calendar days from the steward’s initial attempt to schedule a discussion. If the complaint is not advanced in that window, the situation can become “existing practice” since it proceeded uncontested. All complaint meetings must include the complainant and may include a Union Steward.
Should the complaint discussion(s) not result in a resolution, a grievance may be advanced in the 7 calendar day period following the end of the complaint discussions. Our current grievance form is attached for your reference (click here). Grievances must be finalized, signed and forwarded to the OSPEU Office by a Union Steward. Next, an OPSEU staff member sends the grievance to the University. The University must respond and a meeting must take place within 10 days of receipt of the grievance.
Next, if the grievance process does not resolve the concern within 10 days of the grievance meeting, the matter can be submitted for arbitration within 14 days of receiving a denial letter or non-response. Arbitration involves putting forth the matter to a third party (arbitrator) and includes an OPSEU/SEFPO appointed lawyer. Since our unit is part of OPSEU/SEFPO, there is no cost to the member and the arbitration is covered by OPSEU/SEFPO.