Quick Guide to Grievances
What’s a Grievance?
Grievances are formal complaints about contract violations. Some grievances are more common than you might think. If you find yourself concerned about any of these scenarios, please fill out this Confidential Grievance Report and CGE will communicate with you. You can also skip the report and contact the VP for Grievances at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your department Steward(s). Help protect and enforce your rights!
Want guidance on how to draft a grievance? This is an example grievance letter (redacted for confidentiality) that can help you in the writing process.
- Workload. Your appointment is for a certain number of hours per week and meant to cover a 13 week employment period. Sometimes graduate employees are asked to work all of their hours in 11 or fewer weeks, or are simply given a workload that requires them to put in more hours than the number for which they are paid. It’s a good practice to keep track of your work hours. Use our workload tracker as a guide.
- Work Space. Graduate employees are guaranteed work space and equipment to perform their duties. Office space on campus is scarce (many share offices and desks), but you need to have enough to do your job.
- Improper Charges. As a graduate employee, you should not pay tuition, a matriculation or international student orientation fee, or $430 of fees each term (though you will still have a small remaining fee bill). Graduate employees are improperly charged all the time, so be sure to look at your bill!
- Improper Discipline. The contract spells out a formal discipline procedure; informal discipline and threats are a violation of the CGE collective bargaining agreement.
- Bullying. While this may not constitute a specific contract violation, no graduate employee should be abused by their advisor or supervisor. If you feel you are, contact CGE, and we’ll help you find a solution—through the grievance procedure or other means.
How the Grievance Procedure Works
Filing a grievance simply involves contacting administrators to discuss and resolve workplace issues. CGE officers and staff will hear you out, help you decide whether and how to proceed with your grievance, and will attend and help represent you at meetings at each stage of the process. Grievances typically progress through the following steps:
- Step 0. Informal meeting with the supervisor and/or other involved parties to try to resolve the issue. Issues are very commonly resolved at this step, without requiring the formal grievance process, but this is optional. A grievant can elect to bypass this step and go straight to the formal grievance procedure.
- Step 1. Filing of a formal grievance with the head of the employing unit (Chair, Head, Director, Dean, etc.). The written grievance is prepared by the VP for Bargaining & Grievances, with assistance from CGE staff and the grad employee.
- Step 2. Advancement of the grievance to the University President. The grievance advances if there is no response or an unsatisfactory response to the Step 1 grievance.
- Step 3. Advancement of the grievance to the Oregon University System General Counsel. The grievance advances if there is no response or an unsatisfactory response to the Step 2 grievance.
- Arbitration. The grievance is advanced to binding, third party arbitration if there is no response or an unsatisfactory response to the Step 3 grievance.
Not Sure You Have A Grievance?
Contact the CGE VP for Grievances or your department Steward(s) to discuss ANY potential problem. Sometimes you just want someone to hear you out, and that’s OK. We’re here for that too. Sometimes the issue isn’t purely employment related, and that’s OK. We’re here to help you navigate the academic grievance process too. Sometimes the issue doesn’t constitute a formal contract violation, and that’s OK. We’re here to help you figure out remedies outside of the grievance procedure as well.