Problem-Solving & Discipline
What is the SHARE-UMMS Problem Solving process?
Problem Solving is one of the ways that SHARE members can have a voice at work. Many unions have a “grievance” process which members can use if a manager has violated a rule in the contract. The Problem Solving process is a bit like that, but can be applied to a broader range of issues:
- to appeal disciplinary action,
- to resolve questions and violations of the contract,
- to address concerns about University and departmental practices and policies, or
- to help fix issues which members see as problems at work.
In other words, if it seems like a problem to you, you can ask for help with it.
What should I do if I have a problem I want to address?
You can talk to a SHARE Representative in your area, or call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020. A SHARE Rep will talk with you about the issue, and what you can do next.
You can figure out with a SHARE Rep how you want to handle it. Sometimes people just want to tell someone else what is going on, but not do anything about it right then. Sometimes, people want to get some coaching about how to handle an issue themselves. And sometimes, people want a Rep to go with them to a meeting with their manager and/or HR representative.
Is the Problem Solving process confidential?
Yes. Confidentiality is important to SHARE and to UMMS. Details of a case are only shared with the people who are needed to help resolve the problem.
What is Disciplinary Action?
Disciplinary Action is often referred to as “being written up”. A supervisor or manager will generally write a memo describing what the employee has done wrong and what level of disciplinary action the memo represents (e.g. a written warning).
Is it true that being in a union means that you can’t be fired?
No. Being in a union means that you are entitled to a fair process and being in SHARE means you shouldn’t have to go through something alone.
Can I have a union Rep with me in a disciplinary meeting?
Yes. You have a right to have a union Rep with you in any meeting where you could receive discipline, or in an investigatory meeting that might lead to discipline.
What does the union Rep do in the meeting?
The union Rep is there to support you, to make sure that the process is fair, and to make sure that you have a chance to tell your side of the story. Ideally, you would have time to talk with your Rep before the meeting, so that you can prepare what you want to say. Your Rep can also be a second pair of ears in the room – this can be useful both to document what happened, and so that you have someone to think with after the meeting.
Where can I read more about Problem Solving and Discipline?
The Problem Solving process is on pages 4-7 of the SHARE contract. The Disciplinary Action policy that applies to SHARE members is policy # 06.06.02 dated 09/01/99. The contract has additional guidelines about Discipline for SHARE members on pages 12-13.