Article 19 Section B of the Constitution provides that a member feeling her/himself aggrieved by some action of the Local Union or one of its representatives must initiate her/his complaint or appeal from that action within 30 days of the time s/he is aware of the action or reasonably should have been aware. This provision was inserted because the time limits on appeals in the Constitution do not begin to operate until the Local Union membership has made its decision on a matter. However, it was not possible to handle this matter completely in the Constitution since Local Unions have different methods of internally processing complaints and appeals between the time they are first brought to the Local Union’s attention and the time the membership makes its decision.
The Constitution does, however, require the matter to be initially brought to the Local Union within 30 days as noted. Local Unions should establish an internal appeal procedure in these By-Laws which will set definite time limits in which a member dissatisfied with some lower level decision of a Local Union, such as a Bargaining Committee, or Executive Board decision, will have to take her/his appeal to the membership.
An example of this would be an article which would provide that any person dissatisfied with the action or decision of the Local Union or any representative thereof, other than the action or decision of the membership of the Local Union shall take her/his appeal or complaint to the Local Union Recording Secretary within 30 days as permitted by Article 19 of the Constitution.
Such introductory section could, as an example, be followed with the following provisions:
- (a) The Executive Board shall refer the matter to the Bargaining Committee (or Stewards Council) if it involves collective bargaining. Otherwise, the Executive Board shall consider the matter itself.
- (b) Whichever of these bodies the matter is referred to shall consult with the grievant, permit her/him full opportunity to be heard, and shall reach a decision.
- (c) Within 30 days of receiving a notice of such a decision, the grievant, if wishing to appeal further, shall submit her/his appeal to the Recording Secretary in writing for consideration by the earliest possible membership meeting.
The foregoing is just suggestive of the type of procedure that should be established in the By-Laws and which will vary in detail from Local to Local. Some Locals might wish a collective bargaining grievance which has been reviewed by a Bargaining Committee to be further reviewed by the Executive Board prior to being submitted to the membership. There are any number of other variations involving different intermediate bodies in the structure of the Local Union.
These appeal provisions are very important and if properly drafted to conform to the Local Union structure can save the Local Union a good deal of time, trouble and expense when grievances and appeals arise. It is suggested that in working out the details of this structure, the Local Union By-Laws Committee should consult with the Local’s Servicing Representative.
A Procedure Policy on Constitutional Matters as referenced in Article 18 Section B Paragraph 2 of the Constitution is available to Locals and members, and shall determine time limits and procedure requirements to govern the implementation of all Review of Decisions.