If your contractual rights have been violated, you may be able to pursue redress by filing a grievance. A “grievance” is a formal complaint that the contract (the Collective Bargaining Agreement) was violated. Grievances can include mishandling of annual evaluations, or tenure or promotion applications; inappropriate assignments; incorrect pay; violations of academic freedom (including the right to govern one’s own class, to participate in faculty governance, to write or speak on subjects in one’s own discipline); and retribution. Unfortunately, simple stupidity, incompetence, or malice is not in itself grievable (it has to be an identifiable violation of the contract), but grievable actions can arise out of stupidity or malice.
Here are four things you should know about filing grievances:
1) A grievance must be filed within thirty (30) days of the time that the grievant knew or should have known of the violation.
2) A grievance is a formal complaint that the contract has been violated. There must be a clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was violated.
3) Document everything. The success of a grievance depended on potentially disputed facts of the case, so documentation is critical. Keep copies of hard copy documents, emails, etc. Keep contemporaneous notes to record events.
4) The United Faculty of Florida will not represent a grievant who was not a member of UFF at the time of the violation. UFF is not a charity. It is an organization that offers support and assistance to its members. Image credit