How to get help with a concern at work

A sit­u­a­tion at work has me quite wor­ried. How do I raise the con­cern with my union?

URFA is your union on cam­pus. We’re here to help you! If you need sup­port or have ques­tions about some­thing that you’re con­cerned about, here’s what you can do and what you can expect.

What you need to do

  1. Con­tact the URFA office direct­ly and as soon as possible.
  2. If you haven’t received a response to your email with­in 3 – 4 busi­ness days please call or email the URFA office to fol­low up on your concern.

Tips for craft­ing your email to URFA

  • Briefly out­line your concern.
  • If your request is time sen­si­tive, include TIME SEN­SI­TIVE” in the sub­ject line.

Note: Copy­ing URFA on an email chain is not suf­fi­cient for us to take action. Please ensure you send a direct email to our office as well.

What we do

After we receive your email/​phone call, our office pro­ce­dures for respond­ing to your ques­tions and con­cerns begin. 

  • A Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cer will be assigned to sup­port you. They will pri­or­i­tize your request accord­ing to time sen­si­tiv­i­ty, nature of the request, and oth­er timelines.
  • You can expect to hear from a Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cer with­in 3 – 4 busi­ness days.

URFA will always main­tain your con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and does not take any action with­out your explic­it direc­tion. We do not make any deci­sions on your behalf with­out your consent.

Note: We’ve most­ly used the term con­cern’ in this infor­ma­tion. This is because the term griev­ance’ is a legal term and has legal pro­ce­dures asso­ci­at­ed with it. It is pos­si­ble that your con­cern may become a griev­ance, but that may not be known when we begin sup­port­ing you. 

When is a con­cern a grievance?

A griev­ance is a for­mal com­plaint made in writ­ing to the employ­er. A griev­ance clear­ly exists if:

  • The employ­er vio­lates the col­lec­tive agreement.
  • The employ­er vio­lates past practices.
  • The employ­er vio­lates its respon­si­bil­i­ties by break­ing its own poli­cies, rules and responsibilities.
  • The employ­er breaks the law.

URFA Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cers can iden­ti­fy if there are oth­er cir­cum­stances where a con­cern becomes a griev­ance. You are always wel­come to con­tact us with any ques­tions or con­cerns you have. 

Does every con­cern become a grievance?

Not nec­es­sar­i­ly. Before a griev­ance is filed, you and the employ­er must make a rea­son­able attempt to resolve the dis­pute through infor­mal dis­cus­sion. You may present a ver­bal com­plaint to your super­vi­sor, or the employ­er may meet with an URFA rep­re­sen­ta­tive to dis­cuss the dis­pute on your behalf. URFA Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cers are trained in dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and can work with you to attempt to find a resolution.

What are the steps in fil­ing a grievance?

Note: Griev­ance process­es adhere to spe­cif­ic time­lines out­lined in your col­lec­tive agreement. 

The steps in fil­ing a griev­ance are: 

  1. URFA sub­mits a for­mal writ­ten griev­ance to the employer.
  2. The employ­er pro­vides a writ­ten reply. Dur­ing this time, the employ­er may inves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances and request meet­ings between the employ­er and URFA rep­re­sen­ta­tives. You may be required to attend meet­ings dur­ing this timeframe.
  3. If no response or an unsat­is­fac­to­ry response is received from the employ­er, URFA may esca­late the griev­ance to the next step.

A for­mal griev­ance must be sub­mit­ted with­in 30 days of your aware­ness of the inci­dent, except in the case of dis­missal for cause. URFA Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cers sup­port you through­out the entire griev­ance process and can accom­pa­ny you at any stage.

What are the pos­si­ble out­comes from a grievance?

  • Arbi­tra­tion: If the griev­ance hasn’t been resolved in the ini­tial stages, URFA may sub­mit the griev­ance to an arbi­tra­tion board. The arbi­tra­tion board will meet, hear the evi­dence of both par­ties and issue a final and bind­ing writ­ten decision.
  • With­draw or set­tle: A griev­ance can be set­tled and/​or with­drawn at any time.

Who does URFA talk to about my con­cern or grievance?

URFA owes a duty of con­fi­den­tial­i­ty to mem­bers who bring for­ward issues or com­plaints. Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty will be pro­tect­ed after the fil­ing of the for­mal griev­ance to the great­est extent pos­si­ble. Rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion will be shared in con­fi­dence with­in URFA by those who han­dle grievances. 

All URFA staff and Griev­ance Com­mit­tee mem­bers have signed con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agreements.

Where can I find griev­ance infor­ma­tion and time­lines in my col­lec­tive agreement?


If you have any ques­tions about con­cerns, griev­ances or relat­ed process­es, please con­tact the URFA office direct­ly (link to con­tact info).