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Defending Worker Rights: The Grievance Procedure

One of the most important rights of a UAW member is the right, under each UAW contract, to resolve problems with management through the negotiated grievance procedure.

The grievance procedure varies from workplace to workplace. However, the basic steps of the grievance process are similar.

When a UAW member has a complaint or problem that cannot be resolved between the member and the supervisor, he or she has the right to request union representation. In some contracts, workers have the right to go directly to their steward or committeeperson, while other contracts may require them to ask the supervisor to contact a union representative.

The union representative will discuss the member's complaint with him or her, investigate the facts, and talk with the supervisor.

If the union representative and supervisor are unable to settle the issue and the grievance has merit, the committeeperson will put the grievance in writing and pursue it through several steps of the grievance procedure. At each higher step, the grievance is reviewed and argued with higher levels of union leadership and management.

If the grievance is still unsettled, the grievance committee may take the issue to top management.