Vacations are a good example of how we can work together with management and come to solutions that are win-win.
You may ask, "What about partial week vacation, I'm still being told I can't submit until 4 weeks prior?"
When we came to our agreement on the 6 month time frame for vacation submittals, we could not agree if the intent also applied to partial week vacations. We filed a grievance claiming that it did. The grievance process contains 3 steps. At each step the employee, or union delegate, meets with members of management, and together they try to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, the union has the right to bring the grievance to arbitration.
This is what happened with partial week vacations.
In arbitration, an independent arbitrator that is acceptable to both sides, hears arguments on both sides and renders a decision. This process is agreed to in the contract and the decision is final.
Our arbitration hearing on partial week vacations is expected to be held in February.
So, to recap, on disagreements with interpretation of the contract or any other issues dealing with wages, benefits, working conditions, or discipline, we sit with management, either in Labor/Management Committee, through the grievance process, or in a time sensitive case such as prime time vacation, one on one with Management and Union leadership, and try to find agreement, and if we cannot, an arbitrator has the final word.