Grievances and Arbitration

Grievances and Arbitration

Making sure an employer follows the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between two parties is of the utmost importance for the NBU. While most employees enjoy good relationships with their employers, there are times when the agreement isn't followed.

This is why the grievance and arbitration process is important. It provides NBU members with a clear process to have their concerns heard and resolved.   

The NBU staff has years of experience in the process and will work with members every step of the way to ensure they have proper representation.


A grievance is a complaint by an NBU member against their employer for an alleged violation of the collective agreement. 

In each collective agreement, the grievance process is explained and laid out. The NBU Labour Relations Officers (LRO) are well versed in the language used in the contracts and have the experience as well as the expertise needed to help members through the process.

It's important for employees who feel their collectively bargained rights have been violated to come forward and contact their LRO, otherwise the practice in question could result in the loss of rights which had been previously bargained  - commonly called “past practice" -  or an arbitrator could lose the authority to decide on the issues.  As per the collective agreement and legislation in place, the union must consent before a grievance can be filed.


While most issues can be resolved during the grievance process, some will need to advance to the arbitration stage.

In this process, a third party  called an arbitrator is brought in to hear both sides of the issue and provide a ruling. This process is laid out in each collective agreement. For these situations, the NBU has an LRO with a legal background, specifically focused on arbitrations with a wealth of knowledge and experience. While the hope is to get a resolution before arriving at this stage, the NBU has won numerous arbitrations and is willing to use this process to defend the collectively bargained rights of its members.  The decision to refer a grievance to arbitration rests with the union after a careful review of the facts and law.