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Scoping the management.

Okay, so now you've gathered all your facts, interviewed all your witnesses, and analyzed the problem (health and safety, work rules, discipline incident, whatever).

With your other union leaders, you' ve decided that a problem really exists and requires further action. So now it's time to file a grievance, right?

Most problems on the job are solved without resorting to formal grievances.

Now is when "armed with all the information you have carefully assembled" you are ready for an informal meeting with management to explore the situation. Sometimes this is called a "pre-step" meeting. At this stage, you're usually dealing with a relatively low-level supervisor. But even if this first encounter is largely exploratory, you should prepare carefully for the meeting.

  • You should have discussed the problem with your fellow stewards, your chief steward, and perhaps your union rep.
  • You should have a preliminary strategy and at least a tentative solution in mind. If it helps, you can write out a "discussion plan" and refer to it during your talk.
  • Remember, you're there to learn management's side of the story as well as to outline the union' s side. Pay attention.
  • While you're there on union business, you are one-on-one with the supervisor and you have the protection of federal law. Don't give the supervisor grief. Don' t take any.