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Sexual Harassment Grievances Are Never Easy

They can be really difficult when one member is accusing another one of inappropriate behavior

In the last installment of the Steward's Sourcebook, we discussed the difficulty of representing both members involved in a dispute, specifically a fistfight. In this issue, we're looking at another problem that frequently pits one member against another -- grievances that arise from sexual harassment.

Reporter  V41N3

Rights In Conflict: How can you represent two members involved in a dispute with each other?

You must protect the rights of both members based on the facts and the contract, not popular opinion

Some of the most difficult grievances arise when the best interest of one member conflicts, or appears to conflict, with the best interest of another. For example, if you file a grievance for a member who isn't getting assigned overtime that he believes is rightly his, those members getting the improperly assigned overtime may feel you are taking money out of their pockets — even if the company is clearly violating the contract.

Reporter  V41N2

Organize Your Facts With a Steward Fact Sheet

This useful tool organizes the information you'll need to process a grievance

If you do a thorough job of researching your grievance, you'll end up with quite a bit of information. The Steward Fact Sheet that follows is a useful tool that can help you organize that information.

This simple form can help you a great deal when you get ready to write up your grievance. In fact, if you conscientiously investigate the complaint and fill in all of this form, you should be able to write your grievance just by transferring the information from the form.

Reporter  V40N4

Grievance Handling -- But We've Always Done It That Way!

Using past practice to win grievances

Most grievances are based on a violation of the contract, but no contract can cover every minute detail of what occurs on the job. On the job, procedures and practices are often worked out between the supervisors and the workers verbally, and nothing ever gets into the contract.

These unwritten agreements and standing policies give rise to the term "custom and practice," or what we more often call "past practice."

Reporter  V40N3

Five Steps To Winning Grievances

There's no magic bullet, but carefully following these basic steps can give you a great dvantage

1. Listen carefully to the facts from the worker. Listening is a lot harder than most people realize. It is not a passive act. You will probably need to ask questions to get the facts clear and to get important information that the worker leaves out.

Reporter  V39N5

How to argue your position

Evidence is key to winning the grievance

Collect all the evidence you can, quantify it, make it trustworthy, and present it well for maximum impact

Arguing your grievance is like arguing a court case. You must have evidence to support your claims. Your evidence should be trustworthy, quantified, and positive. Many grievances (and court cases) are lost because the evidence is there, but it is not presented well enough to carry the argument.

Reporter  V39N4

Arguing a Grievance Is Like Arguing a Court Case

If you want to win your grievance, you need to know what argument to use and how to support your claim

To be a good steward you need to be part detective and part lawyer. When you first learn of the grievance, you act like a detective. You question witnesses and gather evidence to make sure there is a grievance.

Then comes a crucial decision. You need to decide exactly what claim you are going to make and how you will argue your case. To make the right decision, you have to know something about putting together an effective formal argument.

Reporter  V39N3

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