What is a Grievance?

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), also known as our contract, is negotiated between us, caregivers, and our employers. Bargaining our contracts is how we fight for the raises, benefits, treatment, and respect we deserve.

A portion of our CBAs lay out the process for grievances – when your employer violates or misapplies our contract.

One of the benefits of our Union is that we negotiate the process for grievances into all of our CBAs.

The general grievance process is first, to try and solve the issues in a fair and responsible manner at the lowest possible level, using mediation and conflict resolution techniques when possible. If it can’t get resolved easily, it can turn into a more formal process, including going to Arbitration, where both sides present evidence and arguments and a neutral arbitrator will rule on the grievance. We use all our resources to fight to make sure caregivers are treated with the respect we deserve!

Grievances can take time, but we have won millions of dollars for thousands of workers in back pay, interest, damages, and other penalties for late or inaccurate payments or other problems through the grievance process.

Examples of Contract Violations

Grievance time limits related to corrective actions and terminations can be very short, so don’t delay contacting the Member Resource Center (MRC) at mrc@seiu775.org or 1-866-371-3200 and letting us know!

Incorrect Paychecks. You know the hours you worked, what your hourly rate is, and what your paycheck should be – but your employer paid you the wrong amount. Contact the MRC and let us know!

Incorrect Deductions. Your employer failed to automatically deduct money for your health insurance or your dues. Contact the MRC and let us know!

Late Paycheck. Just like how you have to show up to work, your employer has to pay you on time! Is your paycheck late? Contact the MRC and let us know!

Corrective Actions, Discipline, or Terminations. Employers – all Agencies, all Nursing Homes, CDWA (new for IPs with the 2023-2025 contract) – must allow you to request Union Representation and enforce their policies and procedures fairly. One of your rights as a Union member is to have Union Representation during disciplinary related conversations with your employer and to contest many disciplinary actions you believe to be unfair and not in-line with your contract or Employer’s policies. Contact the MRC and let us know!  

What to do if you have a Contract Violation

Don’t delay taking action. All of our contracts have time limits on how long we have to file a grievance (informally or formally) after a violation has occurred. Those deadlines are often related either to when the violation occurred or when someone reasonably became aware of the violation. As soon as you notice or think something is wrong, take action, as the clock is ticking.

Contact the SEIU 775 Member Resource Center (MRC) at mrc@seiu775.org or 1-866-371-3200. The moment you think your contract has been violated, go ahead and contact the MRC via email or phone! Representatives can guide you through the process and how to fight back! You can also review all our CBAs on our website to check your contract and what your employer has agreed to as part of the bargaining process.

Contact your Employer. Many of our CBAs require you to first notify your employer that you believe something is wrong, such as hours missing from your paycheck or the wrong payrate, to give them an opportunity to informally correct the issue. For pay and similar issues, even if your employer corrects the issue, if they take too long to fix it your contract may allow us to fight for damages and fees related to the violation. Report the issue to your employer, but also report it to our MRC to ensure we stay within our grievance deadlines. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to your employer or supervisor, contact the MRC and they will guide you through the process, answer questions, and assist where they can.

Get it in writing. They said/You said can be complicated fight. A phone call is great, but writing is better! For example, if you’re on the phone, and your supervisor says that you’ll get your corrected paycheck in a week – follow up in writing by emailing them and saying, “confirming that you said x, y, z.” For grievances, things are better when you can provide proof!

Save everything. During the grievance process, our Contract and Bargaining Team might ask you for documents that show the fines or fees you got because of the contract violation. That could be anything – something from your landlord or your kid’s daycare, or an overdraft fee – that is directly related and caused by the contract violation. All of that is important to save so our Union can fight to make your employer pay you back!

Make Change

Employers are only as good as the contract caregivers hold them to! Every two or three years (depending on the contract), caregivers negotiate a new contract with employers. Want a contract that is stronger? Want to take your power back? Get involved in our Union! Together, we are SEIU 775 – the caregivers Union!