One of the most frustrating things that can happen when the employer unintentionally (or intentionally) violates our contract is being unable to do anything about it because of a technicality. By far, the most common cause of this is not meeting the time requirements of the grievance process.
The first step of the grievance process requires that an interaction between an employee and their supervisor occurs where the dispute is raised within 20 days of the event, or when the employee should have known of the event “through reasonable diligence.” “Reasonable diligence” is a somewhat vague term, but it doesn’t eliminate an employee’s responsibility to be aware of the provisions of their labor agreement. Someone can’t, for example, try to file a grievance long after a clear contract violation by claiming they simply didn’t know it was a violation. It’s like the speed limit when you’re driving: just because you don’t recall seeing a sign doesn’t mean you’ll avoid a speeding ticket. Important take away – read your contract!
If you have a concern that your supervisor isn’t following the contract, reach out! MGEC staff and our Representatives are happy to field your questions. And if they don’t have an immediate answer, they will keep searching until they do. Not every issue is a grievance, but we can keep our contract strong if we probe these concerns and file timely grievances when needed.