It used to be (prior to 2014) that the Local had an excellent relationship with management at Seneca College and many disagreements were satisfactorily resolved before they got to the grievance stage. However, in the past few months labour relations have seriously deteriorated, and while some matters can still be resolved collaboratively, the college has taken a general stance of non-cooperation with the union. When informal processes fail, we have no hesitation whatsoever in supporting you in filing an appropriate grievance in accordance with the collective agreement.
Office of the Chief Steward
The Chief Steward for OPSEU Local 560 is Larry Olivo. He is currently at Newnham Campus, Room B4044, 416-491-5050, Ext. 22814. Feel free to contact him with your questions about workload and grievances.
The Collective Agreement on Grievances
Grievances are covered by Article 32, Grievance Procedures, in the Collective Agreement, and Article 33, Expedited Arbitration Process. These articles apply to any employee (partial-load or full-time) who has been employed continuously for at least the preceding four months.
Complaints not covered by Article 11, Workload, fall under Article 32, Grievance Procedures.
Complaints about conditions of air, light, space, and temperature are covered under Article 7.02, and discussed at the Union/College Committee.
Article 33, Expedited Arbitration Process, provides a means to speed up the grievance process if both parties involved agree to it.
To ensure that your complaint is heard, be sure that you respect the deadlines for action set out in your contract. Once you have launched a complaint, you are free, at any time in the process, to withdraw your complaint. However, if you wish to pursue your complaint, but do not act within the agreed timelines, you will lose your opportunity to pursue the complaint. Article 32.05 A clearly states the consequences of untimeliness: “If the grievor fails to act within the time limits set out at any Complaint or Grievance Step, the grievance will be considered abandoned.”
The time limits set out at the Complaint or Grievance Steps, including referral to arbitration, are calculated by excluding the period from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day inclusive. Note that, for Article 32, the term “day” refers to a calendar day and not a working day.
The imposed time limits can be extended only by mutual agreement of both parties.
Here is the grievance procedure for Article 32, with deadlines clearly indicated:
1. Discussion of Complaint:
You have twenty (20) days to launch a discussion with your immediate supervisor, either from the date of the circumstances giving rise to your complaint or from the date on which you became aware or “ought reasonably” to have become aware of the circumstances.
Prior to the discussion, you may wish to discuss the matter with a steward or union executive officer. For instance, your Chief Steward, Larry Olivo, (416 491-5050 x22814), and your union President, Jonathan Singer, (416 491-5050 x26010) can assist you in determining the validity of your complaint and possible remedies. As well, at any stage of the grievance process, you can be accompanied by and/or represented by a Union Steward.
2. Supervisor’s Response:
Following the discussion, your supervisor has seven (7) days to give you a response to your complaint. We advise that you request a written response.
3. Step One:
If your supervisor does not settle your complaint to your satisfaction, you can choose to launch a grievance, provided you submit your signed grievance within seven (7) days of your supervisor’s response to the discussion. (If you receive no response, you may proceed to the next stage of your grievance.)
You address your grievance to your immediate supervisor, setting forth:
- the nature of the grievance,
- the surrounding circumstances, and
- the remedy sought.
Contact a union representative to help you formulate the wording of your grievance. The written grievance should be very brief, stating only the minimum information for the points mentioned above.
4. Supervisor’s Response at Step One:
Your supervisor has seven (7) days, following receipt of your grievance, to arrange a meeting at which you, a union steward designated by the Union Local (if requested by the union), the Dean of your Division , and your immediate supervisor shall attend to discuss the grievance.
Following the meeting, your immediate supervisor and Dean will provide a written decision, within seven (7) days, to the union steward and to you, the grievor. (If you receive no response, you may go ahead to Step Two of the grievance procedure.)
5. Step Two:
If you are dissatisfied with the College’s response, you can take your grievance to Step Two. Within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the College’s response, you must submit your grievance, in writing, addressed to the College President.
6. President’s Response at Step Two:
The President or his/her designee must convene a meeting to discuss the grievance within twenty (20) days of receiving your Step Two request. The College’s decision must be provided, in writing, within fifteen (15) days of that meeting.
Should you remain dissatisfied with the College’s decision, following the Step Two meeting, you have fifteen (15) days to refer your complaint to arbitration, by notice in writing to the college.
The Board of Arbitration is composed of three arbitrators, one selected by the Union, one selected by the College, and one (the Chair) selected from a panel of arbitrators agreed to by both parties to the Collective Agreement. The arbitration process can take some time, given the need to schedule meeting dates convenient to all parties.
The finding of the majority of the arbitrators is final and binding upon all parties concerned.
* We have taken care in wording this advice. However, in the event of any discrepancy between this advice and the Collective Agreement, please consider the contract wording to be accurate.