Encouraging and supporting reasonable and realistic expectations by members is a fundamental first step to serving all Union of National Employees, PSAC members in an efficient and effective manner. The governing legislation for labour relations purposes, the wording of negotiated, applicable collective agreements and the terms and conditions of employment for our members is different from one Employer Group to another.

At the outset of the grievance process, it helps to establish realistic expectations with the member interested in, or committed to, filing a grievance. It may also make the member more receptive to settling the grievance if they understand these limits. Voluntary mediation (if it is available) is becoming increasingly popular because its goal is to deal with the root causes of a conflict in the workplace and resolve problems in a mutually acceptable way.

Grievances alleging a misinterpretation or misapplication of an article of a collective agreement must be supported by the union in order to be filed, or transmitted through the internal Grievance Procedure. It is not unusual for a member to believe or expect that they have a good case if the union agrees to support them when their grievance is filed or transmitted to a higher level in the Grievance Procedure.

Although the Grievance Procedures represent a formal dispute resolution mechanism, not all grievances denied at the final level can be referred, for adjudication, to the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB). This may be something that members do not want to hear, but is a limitation pursuant to the Federal Public Service Labour Relations Act (FPSLRA).

"Rights" versus "responsibilities" are subjects of continuing discussion in many workplaces today. There are restrictions in the FPSLRA on the subjects of grievances which can be referred to adjudication. Therefore, as much as a grievor may believe in their individual or group grievances, and want a decision to be made by an adjudicator on the merits of their cases, grievors are not guaranteed a 'day in court' simply because they have filed a grievance.

The referral of grievances to arbitration is different for members coming under the Canada Labour Code employed by such Employer Groups as the National Arts Centre, Nordion, etc. Generally, the Grievance Procedure and Arbitration articles of each collective agreement should be consulted for specific information on this subject. Typically, the union and Employer share equally in the expenses related to the arbitration of a grievance.

Union representatives do not know in advance the final outcome of a grievance. However, based on their experience with a particular Employer Group, knowledge of past practice, wording of the applicable collective agreement, employer policies, the state of labour relations in a workplace, etc. can often provide an informed opinion as to the chances of success in individual cases.

Grievances which are denied or lost at the final level or step can be used in support of new bargaining proposals to be put forward to the Employer during the next round of collective bargaining or might be eligible to be put on the agenda for a union-management consultation meeting for further discussion.

The following information is a reference tool as to which grievances are adjudicable under the FPSLRA and Canada Labour Code. If in doubt about its application to specific cases, please contact the assigned National Labour Relations Officer.

Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board

The Federal Public Service Labour Relations Act (Section 209) states . . .

"Reference to adjudication

209. (1) An employee may refer to adjudication an individual grievance that has been presented up to and including the final level in the grievance process and that has not been dealt with to the employee’s satisfaction if the grievance is related to

(a) the interpretation or application in respect of the employee of a provision of a collective agreement or an arbitral award;

(b) a disciplinary action resulting in termination, demotion, suspension or financial penalty;

(c) in the case of an employee in the core public administration,

(i) demotion or termination under paragraph 12(1)(d) of the Financial Administration Act for unsatisfactory performance or under paragraph 12(1)(e) of that Act for any other reason that does not relate to a breach of discipline or misconduct, or

(ii) deployment under the Public Service Employment Act without the employee’s consent where consent is required; or

(d) in the case of an employee of a separate agency designated under subsection (3),

demotion or termination for any reason that does not relate to a breach of discipline or misconduct.

Application of paragraph (1)(a)

(2) Before referring an individual grievance related to matters referred to in paragraph (1)(a), the employee must obtain the approval of his or her bargaining agent to represent him or her in the adjudication proceedings."

Canada Labour Code

Should you require additional information; please contact your assigned National Labour Relations Officer.



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