Grievance Committee Continues Winning Record
UNAC/UHCP’s democratic spirit and quest to empower health care professionals is displayed by the UNAC/UHCP grievance committee, now in its fourth year. The grievance committee, which consists of five UNAC/UHCP members, evaluates all discipline grievances appealed to arbitration to determine whether union resources should be spent taking the grievance through the costly and lengthy process of an arbitration hearing. Grievance committee members receive extensive training from UNAC/UHCP’s legal team before considering the first grievance and continue their education during their two-year service by attending arbitration hearings and labor law conferences. One member of the grievance committee, Dennis Livingston, PA-C says he gets a sense of gratification from the process. “We try to put UNAC/UHCP members first. I am appreciative of the support we receive from UNAC/UHCP’s legal team and amazed at how many cases we actually tackle.”
Once a month, the grievance committee pores through numerous records and debates tough issues of notice, the reasonableness of the work rule or policy, the thoroughness of the investigation, the quantum of proof, disparity in treatment, existence of progressive discipline and other issues of just cause and mitigating circumstances. Their discussions are confidential. A committee member must recuse himself or herself if the grievance comes out of the committee member’s own affiliate. For final written warnings or termination cases where the committee recommends not arbitrating, a member has the ability to file a written letter appeal of the recommendation to the UNAC/UHCP Board of Directors.
The committee members’ health care background facilitates the training and due diligence exercised when evaluating each grievance. The Grievance Committee has a near perfect success rate of the 120 grievances that have been reviewed to date. The National Labor Relations Board has upheld the union’s determination not to arbitrate in every charge filed. The union has prevailed in all but one of the grievances the committee approved for arbitration.