What is a grievance?

A grievance is a formal allegation that the university has violated GEO’s contract with the university. Since our contract deals with such topics as employee rights, wages, and workloads (to name but a few), most grievances address issues that individual grad workers are having in these arenas. If you have an issue in the workplace or are simply wondering if what you’re experiencing is normal, please email the GEO Grievance Committee immediately at

How do we file a grievance?

A grievance is a written document (often in the form of a letter) stating the complaint, the articles of the contract that the union believes were violated, and the remedy sought. Before the grievance is filed, an attempt to resolve the issue informally should be made between the grievant and his or her supervisor except when this is potentially harmful to the grievant (eg. when the grievance concerns discrimination or harassment).

What are the steps of the UIC GEO grievance process?

Level One: We file a grievance with the department head or unit executive officer.
Level Two: If the grievance is not resolved at Level One, the grievance may be filed again with the executive officer (usually a dean) of the college.
Level Three: If the grievance is not resolved at Level Two, the grievance may be filed again with the University’s designee in Human Resources (this is currently Keino Robinson, Senior Associate Director of Labor Relations).
Arbitration: if the grievance is not resolved at Level Three, the union may file to take the grievance before an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator’s ruling is final and binding on both parties.

Who has the right to file a grievance?

Anyone covered under the collective bargaining agreement has a right to file a grievance, whether or not they are a “card-signed” member of the union.

A member has the right to use the process for filing a grievance outlined in the collective bargaining agreement to file his/her own grievance without going through the union. If a member chooses to exercise this right, the University is obligated to notify the union that a grievance is underway. This is an incredibly rare and inadvisable practice for members, as the purpose of union representation is to help represent the member’s best interests and rights as employees in the grievance process.

What kind of issues can be pursued through the grievance process?

The ONLY issues that can be pursued through the grievance process are violations of the collective bargaining agreement. Nothing else is subject to the grievance procedure (though there may be other avenues for seeking redress for those claims).

What kind of remedy can we seek through the grievance procedure?

The purpose of remedies under the grievance procedure is to restore what was lost under the contract. Any other purpose (eg. punishing the University) cannot be pursued through the grievance procedure.