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Grievance Arbitration and Mediation

Streamlining the Grievance Procedure: Providing cost-effective access to justice

Taking a grievance through the grievance procedure should be about more than "going through the motions." The procedure should provide parties with a real opportunity to resolve the issue. In this workshop, experts will provide guidance for designing an effective grievance process and making the most of that process. They will also provide attendees with opportunities to practise dispute resolution skills. Topics to be covered include the following:

  • Prevent grievances from arising: What types of management styles, attitudes, structures, and policies are associated with higher grievance rates? What types of union rules, organizational structures, and leadership styles are associated with higher grievance rates? What changes in attitudes, structures, polices, etc., can management and unions make to reduce grievance rates? What can be done to cultivate the type of union-management relationships associated with lower grievance rates? What should parties do to enable union-management committees to effectively resolve workplace issues outside of the grievance procedure and to prevent small problems from becoming big problems?
  • Design an effective grievance process: What are the elements of a grievance process that effectively support the resolution of grievances before they reach arbitration? Do the number of steps in the process matter? Do time limits matter? Who should be required to be involved at each step of the grievance procedure? If parties are open to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms (for example, mediation or restorative justice approaches), at what stage in the process should those mechanisms be incorporated? What types of ADR mechanisms have parties used successfully in grievance procedures?
  • Process and investigate grievances: What should union stewards do to maximize the chances of resolving the issue before submitting a formal written grievance? What should management representatives do at these initial informal stages to maximize the chances of resolving the issue? What steps should union stewards take to investigate a grievance? How should management representatives investigate a grievance once it is brought to their attention?
  • Participate in productive grievance meetings: What legal principles should union and management representatives keep in mind when conducting grievance meetings? What should union and management representatives do to prepare for a formal grievance meeting? What about during and after the meeting? How should the meeting be conducted?
  • Make arbitration as painless as possible: What type of analysis should each side conduct in order to determine whether a matter is worth taking to arbitration? How should parties apply the principle of "proportionality" to arbitration? What can union and management representatives do in the steps leading up to arbitration to ensure that the case they give their lawyer (or other union representative) is as strong as possible? How can parties design more efficient arbitration procedures? Do the procedures for arbitration in the rail industry provide a model for more efficient arbitration? What are some options for expedited arbitration, and how are they best used? When should parties consider med-arb, and when is mediation a waste of time?



E-mail Christine Winiker or call (416) 977-6618 for more information. We can help to tailor a Customized Training package for you.

Additional Information

Includes materials, with case summaries and analyses, prepared by Lancaster's legal staff.