How to Write a Grievance
The formal grievance document usually requires that certain basic data be included: name of grievant, date, address, phone number, signature, etc. Once these are filled out, there are three elements that are critical for a grievance.
- Statement of the Grievance. This should be a short, simple, declarative statement of what the grievance is about. The statement should not include the Union’s arguments, evidence or justification for its position. Nor should the statement contain personal remarks or opinions. The grievance can be stated in one or two concise sentences. It is always safe to start the statement by declaring what “the employer/hospital or management” did to cause the grievance.
Example: “The employer disciplined Jane Doe, an Emergency Department Nurse, in March 2006, without just cause.”
- Citation of the Article(s) Violated. The grievance must include a reference to what contract article(s) was violated. It is not absolutely necessary (depending on contract language) to list the specific section and/or paragraph of the Article cited. A catch-all statement should be included that would cover other contract articles that may have been overlooked. Such a catch-all phrase simply insures that even if the wrong contract article is cited, the grievance will still be valid and binding. Such phrases look like:
“Article(s) Violated: Article 5 and 7 and any and all other relevant articles.”
“Including but not limited to Article 12.”
- Statement of Proposed Remedy. The remedy should again be clear, concise and all-inclusive. It should be written to achieve the best possible outcome for the grievant. The remedy statement should also contain a catch-all statement- such as “…make the grievant whole.” If a nurse is suspended for 3 days, the remedy should not just be for the pay lost, but should also cover other losses as seniority, benefits, earned time, etc.
Example: “The suspension and disciplinary notice shall be withdrawn and the grievant shall be made whole for any and all losses.
Add: “…and any and all other benefits to which the grievant is entitled.”