Something Happened at Work.

How can Local 500 Help Me?

During your workday, you may have a problem with a client or your supervisor. You may be disciplined or fired. You may also have problems with your leave or paycheck. The union might be able to help you solve these problems. Below are the steps you should take, and who will help you with your workplace problems.

Contacting the union office

The union does not get notices when an employee is disciplined or something has happened to you at work. We count on you to notify us when something is going on. To notify us, please fill out this form:

 
 

In addition to contacting the union online, you can call (301) 740-7100. Finally, you may visit the Local 500 office anytime between 9 - 12pm and 1 - 5pm, Monday through Friday. However, our Contract Administration Representatives are often in grievance hearings or other meetings outside the office.

After you contact us online or call, you will be put in rotation to the next available representative. You should expect to receive a call back within 24-48 hours and a Contract Administration Representative will have a discussion with you about your case and arrange a time to meet.

+ What is a Contract Administration Representative (CAR)?

The union has staff members whose job is entirely focused on investigating grievances and complaints for our members. They know your contract and labor law. They are trained to deal with helping you. While it can be tempting to call a Member Strength Organizer or other person you know in the union, Contract Administration Representatives are better equipped to deal with your individual problem.

+ What is rotation? Why do I have to wait for a call back?

CARs work with all members of the union. They are assigned calls in the order they come in the office. If a CAR is not available when you call, you will be in the rotation and the next CAR in the rotation will call you back within 24 hours. Union members are not able to request a certain representative, as they are often already assigned to other cases or working on behalf of another union member. It is VERY Important: If you have an immediate need for a representative (such as an investigatory meeting for possible discipline), please let the receptionist know that you have a tight timeline.

Important: The union does not have a tracking system for calls into the office. You must leave a voice mail or a message with the receptionists in order to get a call back.

+ What happens next?

When you meet with a CAR, you should bring:

  • ALL documents relating to your case, whether or not you think they are important;
  • Your whole story. We ask that you think about everything that has happened before you talk with us so we can get a clear picture of what your situation is and provide the best support possible. We are here to help you, so please don’t hold anything back. We are on your side.

Please be on time for your meetings, bring paper and pen to take notes, write down questions or other information you need to find.

You shouldn't bring:

  • Please don’t bring your spouse or a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. If there is a language barrier, disability or other reason you believe you need assistance, we will discuss this with you to ensure that your privacy and representation rights are protected.
  • Please don’t bring an outside attorney. If you would prefer your own attorney instead of representation from your Union, that is your decision, however, any request for your Union to interact with an outside attorney will first have to be evaluated by our Legal Counsel. Also, outside attorneys are not familiar with our contract, and do not represent employees under the rules established by the contract.

+ Next Steps

The CAR will need to evaluate your case to see if it is a violation of the contract or labor law. Unfortunately, some problems may come from personality conflicts or differences of opinion. The union contract may not fix these. The union can try to assist you with those problems but we can only use the formal grievance process when your problem at work is directly related to a violation of the contract. Often times a CAR will contact your employer on your behalf, and with your permission, attempt to resolve the issues, including those that are not contract violations.

The Contract Rep will discuss with you the next steps, which may include an investigation that will include talking to your coworkers and potentially your manager.

+ This sounds like a long process, and I’m not sure if it’s a contract violation, should I still call?

The contract reps are happy to answer questions, and you will not be automatically involved in any process just by calling. You can just ask a question or get a clarification. You will be able to make decisions about the grievance process as you go through the process. But the union cannot help you if you don’t tell us what is going on at your workplace. We want to help you and to make sure you are treated fairly.

 

 

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 I Have a Complaint or Grievance at Work. What Should I Do?

 

+ First, call the Local 500 office

You can visit the Local 500 office anytime between 9-12pm and 1-5pm. However, our Contract Administration Representatives are often in grievance hearings or other meetings outside the office. If you call first, (301) 740-7100, you will be put in rotation to the next available representative, receive a call back within 24 hours, and have some preliminary discussion about your case and arrange a time to meet.

If you have an immediate need for a representative (such as an investigatory meeting for possible discipline), please call ASAP so arrangements can be made for representation.

+ What to do when you meet with a Contract Administration Representative

  • Bring ALL documents relating to your case, whether or not you think they are important
  • Your whole story. We would ask that you think about everything that has happened before you talk with us so we can get a clear picture of what your situation is and provide the best support possible. We are here to help you, so please don’t hold anything back. We are on your side.
  • Be on time for your meetings, bring paper and pen to take notes, write down questions or other information you need to find.
  • Please don’t bring your spouse or a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. If there is a language barrier, disability or other reason you believe you need assistance, we will discuss this with you to ensure that your privacy and representation rights are protected.
  • Also, please don’t bring an outside attorney. If you would prefer your own attorney instead of representation from your Union, that is your decision, however, any request for your Union to interact with an outside attorney will first have to be evaluated by our Legal Counsel.


 

 

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 Your Rights Under Your Contract

Interpretation of contract language, laws, regulations, policies, practices and the process of pursuing your rights can be complicated and, in most cases, tied to specified time limits and procedures to follow. 

Should you find that you need an interpretation of any of the above, or you are being investigated or disciplined by management, you should immediately contact a Contract Administration Representative at the SEIU Local 500 Representation Department.  Contract Administrative Representatives are the experts in handling such matters and should be your first stop for help in finding out your rights and protecting them.

 

SEIU Local 500

(301) 740-7100 (phone) (301) 740-7139 (fax)

12 Taft Court, Rockville, Maryland

 
 

+ What Constitutes a Grievance or Violation of Law?

In order to successfully process a grievance or charge through a government agency, the employee and Union must show that one or a combination of the following took place:

  1. A violation of a provision of the labor agreement.

  2. A violation of an applicable provision of the law.

  3. A violation of a policy, established past practice, or regulation.

  4. There is a dispute between the parties from different interpretations of the labor agreement.

+ What Is Considered In Such Matters?

Much like law, there is the factual side of the case, exactly what happened and who was involved and then there is the legal side. Did the established facts violate the contract language, law, regulation, policy, past practice?

When you launch a complaint with a Representative, he or she will open an official investigation into the matter. Be prepared to provide the following information to the Contract Administrative Representative:

  • Your contact information (your name, address, working telephone number, email address).

  • Your worksite (name and address) and your supervisor’s name.

  • Any written documentation related to your issue. For example: written disciplinary notices issued to you, any written statement you gave management, statements from witnesses supporting your claim, insurance papers, leave slips, etc.

+ What Happens Next?

Contract Administrative Representatives are required to conduct a due diligent investigation into your complaint; therefore, your complaint will be pursued as an active investigation. During the investigation the Contract Administrative Representative may do one or all of the following:

  • Conduct an interview with you (at the union office or over the telephone), take detailed notes, review documents you have and advise you of the process.
  • Contact your immediate supervisor or others in management to obtain information concerning your complaint. Why? In order to prepare your case the Contract Administrative Representatives will need to know what management might be saying at the hearing or any documents they may produce.
  • Examine your personnel file to review your evaluations and any disciplinary action taken against you. Why? At a hearing management can introduce an employee’s poor work record. On the other hand, a good work record may help the employee at a hearing.
  • Contact coworkers who have relevant information to your complaint, or who may have given a statement to management. Why contact them? Again, if a grievance is filed such witnesses or statements can be produced at a hearing so the Union will need to know before a hearing what they have said.
  • The Grievance Representative will then review contract language, regulations, policies and any applicable law to determine if a violation has taken place. At the conclusion of the investigation you will be advised of the results of the investigation and whether there appears to be grounds to file a grievance.
  • If a grievance is filed, you will go to a hearing where the Grievance Representative will represent you. At this hearing the Union or management may call witnesses, introduce written documents and cross examine witnesses.