How Hackers Can Ruin Your Summer Vacation

From airports to hotels to that cute café you found, it just takes one cybersecurity slipup to turn your holiday into a nightmare.

It was the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta. Ken Spinner, then a systems consultant — and tourist in the city — lost his credit card information.

But this was more than two decades ago, so it happened the old-fashioned way: a mugging at the ATM.

Today, hackers can steal your banking and credit card information without leaving their couches. That’s particularly worrisome if you’re taking off for the summer. It’s peak vacation time, but it’s also the perfect season for hackers.

As Americans take more than 657 million trips between now and Labor Day weekend, they’re vulnerable to cyberattacks that steal their credit card data and personal information. For cyberthieves, resort hotels and airports make for lucrative hunting grounds.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Growing Threat of Ransomware and How to Stay Safe

It’s no different from why thieves and pickpockets target tourists on vacation: They’re in an unfamiliar setting, they have their guard down and, more importantly, they’ve got money.

It’s like why people rob banks. That’s where the money is. When people go on vacation they use airports and stay at resorts.

From a cybersecurity perspective, hotels aren’t exactly bastions of relaxation. Over a three-month time-span surrounding the 2016 holiday season, more than 1,200 InterContinental Hotels suffered hacks. Malware has also hit President Donald Trump’s luxury hotel chain, along with Sheraton, Westin, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Kimpton and Wyndham hotels — the list goes on.

In every one of those breaches, thieves stole credit card information from the hotels, leaving thousands of unsuspecting customers open to getting robbed. It’s not just your money these hotels are losing; addresses, phone numbers, names, and check-in and check-out times are all fair game.

unsecured Wi-Fi

Because many hotels are chains, one breached location means hackers can break into the entire network for the mother lode of information. The stolen information can be sold online for up to $50 per account.

The majority of incidents start from a single employee at a hotel getting phished.

So even if your family takes all the precautions to keep your credit card information safe, and the hotel you stay at is safe, it could be a part of a compromised network. You could do nothing wrong and still lose.

Union Built PC feels hotels should invest more in encryption and in testing their security systems regularly.

RELATED: How Union Built PC Resolved the Cyber Terrorism Strike Against JATC Union Local 351

But the breaches don’t stop at hotels. Airports, coffee shops, beaches — any place with open Wi-Fi, really — should have you on the lookout.

Safe Travels

Don’t fret too much, though. There are still ways to keep yourself safe.

When you’re traveling, and don’t have your precious home or office internet access, be wary of any public Wi-Fi network you jump on. You might be setting yourself up for a man-in-the-middle attack.

That’s when a thief will set up a bogus hotspot, made to look exactly like the public Wi-Fi you wanted to get on, like the hotel lobby’s or the airport’s. When you sign on, you’re actually sending all your data to the hacker, without any warnings that you’re being compromised in plain sight.

It happens so frequently that in Singapore more people are afraid of using public Wi-Fi than public toilets.

Plus, people typically have their guard down when they’re on vacation. They won’t consider what the implications are if they go to a rogue Wi-Fi hotspot.

Without question, when on any public WiFi hotspot, avoid banking websites and online shopping. Anywhere you are entering your personal financial information. Always use an encrypted connection. 

RELATED: Protect Your Sensitive Data from Cyber Criminals with the Union Built Cloud

Going Electronically Naked

In some more extreme cases, consider going “electronically naked.” That means leaving every piece of technology at home: your phone, your laptop, your tablet, your iPad – everything! (It’s hard to conceive but read on.)

There are entire retreats dedicated to detoxing from digital life, so the idea of going on vacation without any technology isn’t as farfetched as you may think. Cyber Security experts most often go “electronically naked” when visiting China or Russia. This is where the majority of hackers emanate from.

Enigma Software took a look at cities in the US, Canada and Europe that have the highest malware infection rates. So if you’re heading to any of these cities, you may want to consider going electronically naked:

highest-malware-infection-ratesYOUR TURN

Has your personal financial data been breached? On vacation or otherwise? What happened? What was the resolution process like? We want to hear from you! Sound off in Comments, on the Union Built PC Facebook Page, or on our Twitter or LinkedIn Feeds.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Ransomware became three times as expensive in 2016

The average price to free your computer from ransomware used to be $294. It’s more than tripled in the last year.

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Ransomware averages at $1,077 per victim now. It might be cheaper to just do this.

It’s getting more expensive to keep up with ransomware.

As victims struggle to deal with cyberattacks locking up their systems, payouts are on the rise for hackers who target entire computer networks. Ransomware hides onto computers before encrypting important files, demanding victims pay up if they ever want access again.

RELATED: How Union Built PC Resolved the Cyber Terrorism Strike Against JATC Union Local 351

Throughout 2016, ransomware has become an increasingly popular malware for hackers, hitting San Francisco’s public transportation system, Congress and hospitals. As hackers find creative ways to extort money by holding computers hostage, ransoms are becoming less affordable while the malware becomes tougher to crack. In the near future, the average person might not even be able to pay off ransomware, even if he or she wanted to.

The MIRCOP ransomware demanded $28,730 from victims, the highest price seen during 2016.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Growing Threat of Ransomware and How to Stay Safe

Two cybersecurity reports pointed at the startling growth of ransomware attacks during 2016. Ransomware attacks have increased by 50 percent in 2016 from 2015, now the fifth most common type of malware. In 2014, it was only the 22nd most common, according to this 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report.

The report also found that ransomware made up more than 70 percent of malware attacks on the health care industry, which includes hospitals, pharmacies and insurance agencies.

In 2016, Symantec found 463,841 instances of ransomware attacks, which rose from 340,665 in 2015. They also discovered 100 new variations of ransomware, tripling since last year. Over the last year, the security company found an average of 1,271 ransomware attacks each day.

RELATED: Protect Your Sensitive Data from Cyber Criminals with the Union Built Cloud

Ransomware’s rise comes from both how easy it is to share the malware, as well as how profitable the attacks are. When cyber criminals can share the software with each other and send out ransomware to infect systems in mass amounts through email, it’s a quick formula for an easy buck.

In 2015, the average profit for a cyber thief through ransomware was $294. Symantec found in its Internet Security Threat Report that demands have more than tripled, jumping up 266 percent to an average $1,077 per victim. Depending on how important the files are, it might be cheaper to just buy a new computer.

They can afford to raise the price when the majority of victims are willing to just pay the price. In the US, 64 percent of ransomware victims opt to pay the ransom, with the software often times being too difficult to crack, even for the FBI.

Attacks have become more sophisticated, going after entire drive systems as opposed to specific files to hold hostage. Ransoms can now also increase for every day it’s not paid, and some ransomware function as pyramid schemes, offering freedom if victims can infect two or more people.

RELATED: Why You Need Cloud Storage

YOUR TURN

Organizations like No More Ransom are fighting back against ransomware with free decryption tools. The group estimates that they’ve blocked cyber criminals from receiving more than $3 million in ransomware payouts since forming in July 2016.

Union Built PC is fighting back against ransomware by seeking to educate our clients, prospects, readers and followers. Backup is the Best Protection for your Data. We recently published a white paper to educate and guide you through the growing threat of Ransomware as well as information on Union Built Cloud services, a best-in-class secure data storage solution that automatically backs up your data keeping it out of the hands of cyber criminals. Use them and navigate the web with a lot more peace of mind.

Learn more about the Union Built Cloud, contact us with your cyber security questions and concerns and like Union Built PC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to the Union Built PC monthly email newsletter for Union News delivered straight to your inbox.

Grievance Manager Case Study: Communications Workers of America

We were contacted by District 3 about help with their grievance process in late 2015, and scheduled an online/phone conference call and screen demonstration with top-level District officers and staff, including CWA Vice President Richard Honeycutt and Assistant to the VP Nick Hawkins.  Using a screen-sharing conference tool (GoToMeeting), District 3 officers and staff were able to join this conference from various locations, which made the meeting easy to schedule and attend.

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About CWA District 3

The District is a large regional jurisdiction of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), representing 65,000 workers in over 100 locals in the Southeastern US.  District 3 includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Puerto Rico.  The District represents both public and private sector employment in diverse industries that include telecommunications, airline, health care, public service, printing and news media, broadcast and cable television, higher education and corrections.

During our online meeting, we learned that the District handles grievance appeals at Step 3 and arbitration from most of their Locals across a wide array of bargaining units, and they needed a unified system to help them manage the volume and diversity of grievances while maintaining and strengthening a consistent District-level process for managing details, processes and timelines for these important cases.

Discussion of Issues

The District wanted a uniform, consistent and centralized processing and document tracking system for their grievance processes.  The system needed to:

1. Provide all case record-keeping and document storage in a single database, accessible to the District and all Locals via the internet. 
2. Provide the ability to require required information standards across the District.
3. Provide flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of bargaining units and contracts and a substantial degree of Local specialization in all steps.
4. Provide reminder emails for approaching case due dates. 
5. Provide reports and other administrative and end-user features to increase the visibility and utility of archived data and documents.

To accomplish these goals, we needed to provide District Staff with the ability to:

1. Design and create multi-screen procedures potentially specific to each local and bargaining unit, using an administrative “back end” application, as well as copy those procedures to other Locals as needed. 
2. Set time-line email alerts per Local, per bargaining unit procedure. 
3. Upload Contract provisions, per bargaining unit procedure, for easy reference and citation in grievances.

The Planning Process

First, we worked with District staff to determine the District-wide standard for information requirements, using forms and procedures that they had been using to that point.  We created a set of charts and data sheets for review and correction by District staff, and eventual inclusion in the formal Project Plan.

Next, we began to design the application’s data relationships and schema, and created flow and data relationship diagrams for internal review and testing.

Drafting and Finalizing Specifications

We drafted screen specifications as “wire-frame” mock-ups for District Staff review.  These included individual screens with information on inputs and on-screen information display.  This began a process of edits and discussions about specific display and navigation features.  Several rounds of revisions were made and the Proposal was submitted.

The Administrative back-end was planned to be as clear and transparent as possible, with the goal of making administrative processes self-evident from the screen layouts and on-screen information.

District 3 accepted the proposed plan, specifications and consideration, beginning a 120 day timeline to produce the application for client beta testing.

GRIEVANCE-MANAGEMENT-UNIONS-CWA-QUOTE

Development Process

Development was done on a LAMP platform using object oriented PHP, MySQL, Javascript and JQuery.  These tools were chosen for their flexibility and widespread support across platforms and the software development industry.

Before development began, project management procedures were implemented using collaboration and work management software.  This was designed to keep the project on a schedule and to mitigate any slippage.  Progress and schedule were charted with tabular and Gantt chart reports throughout the development and non-developer alpha testing process.

Testing ended and the application was presented ready to the client within the agreed timeline.

Implementation

District staff was trained online to use the Administrator’s back end to create Local and CBA specific procedures.  Because the application was designed specifically for these processes and staff was previously engaged in the design, this was a short and easy training session of around 30 minutes.

The District 3 staff are now using Grievance Manager, and will be gradually rolling it out to their locals to enter sample sets of grievances representing various processing scenarios and obtaining feedback.

District Staff will be working with locals to determine whether procedures met local requirements and practices.  Changes were made to the District Standards. According to feedback and other considerations, procedures were modified by Administrators and some newly added inputs were made District Standard.

As the implementation process continued, several changes were made to standardized data inputs as well as the structure of the application.  Knowing all along that the planning process is never perfect, this flexibility was key to making the application achieve its original goals.

Use in The Field

The application has been in use for several months, and has been embraced by District 3.  This is a continuing process, but seems to be going well.  When we asked for comment, Assistant VP Nick Hawkins responded:

“Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager is changing the way we do business in District 3 and enabling us to better serve our members.  I can’t express how wonderful their staff has been in designing a program that is custom built for the specific needs of our District.”

Learn More about Grievance Manager

Download the Grievance Manager Brochure
Request a Demo of Grievance Manager
Watch A Brief Grievance Manager Demo
Download the UB-2017 Grievance Manager Tablet Brochure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Union Built PC Announces the new Grievance Manager Tablet UB-2017 10.1” Android 5.1

Union Built PC Press Contact:
Pete Marchese
Union Built PC Inc.
877-728-6466
pete.marchese@unionbuiltpc.com
http://www.unionbuiltpc.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Technology, Labor and Unions:

Union Built PC Announces the new Grievance Manager Tablet UB-2017 10.1” Android 5.1

In today’s connected world, Union Built PC’s new UB-2017 Android Tablet is a perfect, fully customizable solution to enhance mobile workplace efficiency and productivity for International and Local Unions and all those affiliated with them.

Copiague, NY (PHANTOM POWER Marketing) May 17, 2017 – Union Built PC, a fully unionized company specializing in custom computer equipment, hardware, software and other IT solutions specifically for Labor Unions, today announced a new addition to their IT Arsenal for Labor; The Union Built PC UB-2017 – “The Grievance Manager” 10.1” Android 5.1 Tablet.

The UB-2017 features a 10.1 inch 1920 x1200 high definition screen and is designed for optimal mobility while still packing a performance punch. “The Grievance Manager” is a 3G enabled tablet boasts WiFi and Bluetooth for all consumers’ digital connections and is powered by the 5.1 Android operating system; and the MediaTek MTK6592 Octa-Core Processor for speedy performance whether for App usage in the workplace, email, web browsing, multimedia or gaming.

In today’s connected world, the UB-2017 is a perfect solution to enhance mobile workplace efficiency and productivity. Users can download any of the 1 million+ Apps found in the built-in Google Play store that can enrich business capabilities and heighten multimedia features. And customers can have their tablets custom configured so key Apps and Union Built PC’s popular software’s – such as Grievance Manager a fast-becoming Industry Standard for grievance and arbitration management – are built-in and right on the users’ capacitive touch screen.
UB2017-GM-TABLET-WITH-UBPC-ICONS

“Union Built PC Inc. has launched the UB-2017 in response to our clients requesting a light, powerful Tablet to use at Grievances, Arbitrations and Negotiations that can run our premiere Grievance Manager Software. We have heard the requests from many unions, especially The Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 2-13 and District 3. This is the reason we have named our new Tablet ‘The Grievance Manager,’” says Director of Sales and Operations Pete Marchese.

“As our customers become increasingly active users of our custom configured computers, we are now responding to the needs of the majority who have adopted smart and mobile technologies. The UB-2017 ‘The Grievance Manager’ allows us to offer a device that meets our customers’ on-the-go needs as well as the increased demands of today’s multimedia user,” continues Marchese.

The UB-2017 is also a sleek and powerful option for Unions looking for a device that switches seamlessly from work to entertainment to social media and beyond. The slim and elegant UB-2017 sports dual cameras – 1.3 MP on the front and 2MP with flash on the rear – as well as dual speakers on the back’ perfect for picture taking, uploading and storing photos, video chatting and listening to music. The large and vibrant screen, viewable from all angles, makes for an ideal television and movie viewing experience and is perfection for gamers. The UB-2017 media capabilities are bolstered by BlueRay, 3D and all Android 5.1 supported audio and video formats as well as a built-in eBook Reader. The UB-2017 also offers a number of additions to optimize its performance as a connectivity tool including an IEEEE802.11 b/g/n wireless network and a substantial 5000mAh battery that allows for more than 6 continuous hours of on or off-line work or play.

“We believe that the UB-2017 Tablet will appeal to all Union Members and Officers across the Union marketplace as we’ve aligned ‘The Grievance Manager’ to be highly accessible and flexible to serve multiple applications and budgets,” states Marchese.

The UB-2017 supports all of the major frequencies in the United States, Europe and Asia – 850, 1900, 2100mhz and like all Union Built PC products feature a 1 year factory warranty.

Union Built PC’s new UB-2017 – The Grievance Manager – Android 5.1 Tablet is available now for purchase and custom configuration at a special introductory price of $199.00. Discounts on large orders and packages are also available.

You can shop the UB-2017 and inquire about customization by visiting the Union Built PC UB-2017 webpage or email sales@unionbuiltpc.com or calling (877) 728-6466.

# # #

For more information:

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The UB-2017 – The Grievance Manager – Android Tablet:
http://unionbuiltpc.com/tablet_ub2017.php

The UB-2017 – The Grievance Manager – Brochure:
https://www.phantompowermarketing.com/android-tablet-for-unions-grievance

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https://www.facebook.com/unionbuiltpc

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About Union Built PC Inc.

Union Built PC Inc. has been serving the IT needs of Labor since 2001. Union Built PC’s mission is to “organize” Labor and help them “excel in everything they do.” Union Built PC believes their success is based on products and services that have been developed by Union Members and customized to meet the specific needs of their Union clientele. That’s why every member of the Union Built PC team is a Union Member.

Offering the most innovative technologies such as their new UB-2017 – “The Grievance Manager” – Android Tablet, Union Built Desktops, notebooks, servers, and their popular and powerful Grievance Manager Application, custom software that allows Labor Unions to manage the grievance process from start through arbitration plus Software to automate the Negotiating process; Union Built PC has singularly provided cutting edge IT innovations for Labor which focuses on the unique needs of International and Local Unions and the organizations affiliated with them.

10 Most Common Mistakes Union Stewards Make

A good Union Steward is many things – an organizer, a negotiator, a counsellor, a peacemaker and a troublemaker. But there are certain things that a steward should avoid at all costs.

Stewards

Here we explore the 10 most common mistakes often made by Union Stewards…

1. Fail to represent fairly
Not only does this leave the union open to being sued for breaching its duty to provide fair representation, it’s just not the right thing to do. It undermines the whole purpose of the union and the very idea of solidarity.

2. Make backroom deals
Management is notorious for trying to get stewards to trade grievances. “I’ll let you have this case if you drop the one we talked about yesterday.” Every member deserves a fair shake and every grievance needs to be evaluated on its own merit. Never agree to anything you would be uncomfortable telling your entire membership about.

3. Promise remedies too quickly
You’re hurting both the member and your credibility if you pass judgement on a grievance prior to a thorough investigation. Only after you have spoken to the grievor and witnesses and consulted the contract, the employer’s rules and past practices are you in a position to make that determination. Given the frequency of poor and mixed arbitration decisions, no steward should ever promise victory.

4. Fail to speak with new workers
The most important way a union gains the support of a new member or a potential new member is by one-on-one contact with the steward. You not only want to provide new workers with information, but need to build a personal relationship and begin to get them involved in union activities from their first day on the job.

5. Fail to adhere to time lines
Even the strongest, iron-clad case can be lost if the time line specified in your contract isn’t followed. Even if management agrees to an extension, it is not in the union’s interest to let problems fester and grow. If you do get a formal extension of time limits, be sure to get it in writing.

6. Let grievance go unfiled
Every grievance that goes unfiled undermines the contract you struggled so hard to win. While most members see changes and problems only in terms of the impact on them, the steward needs to be able to understand a grievance’s impact on the contract and the union as a whole.

RELATED: Automating the Grievance and Arbitration Management Process

7. Meet with management alone
When you meet with management alone, suspicions may arise as to what kinds of deals you’re making. It also allows management to lie or change its story. More importantly, when the steward meets with management alone, it takes away an opportunity for members to participate in the union and to understand that it’s really their organization.

8. Fail to get settlements in writing
Just as you should protect yourself by not meeting alone with management, be sure to get grievance settlements in writing. Putting the settlement in writing helps clarify the issues and keeps management from backing down on their deal.

9. Fail to publicize victories
Publicizing each and every victory is an important way to build your local union. This publicity not only has a chilling effect on the employer, but helps educate your own members on their contractual rights. It also gives you something to celebrate and builds the courage needed to carry on.

10. Fail to organize
Stewards are much more than grievance handlers. They are the key people in the local who mobilize the membership, and they must be talkin’ union and fightin’ union all the time. Each and every grievance and incident must be looked at in terms of how it can increase participation, build the union, and create new leaders.

YOUR TURN

Are you a Union Steward whose learned from experience? What can you add to our list? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox. 

Elizabeth Warren Unveils Her Blueprint for Fighting (and Defeating) Trump

Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” after kicking off her nationwide book tour in New York City the day prior. This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class is the 11th book by the U.S. senator and a blueprint for resisting President Trump’s havoc on everyday Americans, many of whom elected him.

elizabeth-warren

Watch Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” here.

In the book, Warren cites the Women’s March, which she attended in Boston, as a pivotal moment for the resistance movement.

“I’m thinking, how are we gonna fight back against Trump, and at this point I know we gotta have an army,” Warren told Maddow. “I’m thinking… ‘Where does an army come from what does an army look like?'”

“I look up… and there’s this man with this little girl on his shoulders and she’s holding up this sign and the sign says ‘I fight like a girl,'” recalled Warren. “I said, ‘This is our army’, and it did change from that moment.”

Another pivotal moment? The collapse of the American Health Care Act last month, after the House of Representatives voted 60 plus times to repeal Obamacare.

“We had one narrative… you cannot repeal and run, you have to repeal and replace,” Warren noted. Slowly, people began to “realize how they will be touched, how their neighbors will be touched.”

“It’s a sense of the collective,” she explained. “It’s the notion [that] we have the richest country on Earth; healthcare should be a basic human right.”

“People who showed up who made their voices heard… they weren’t all Democrats,” Warren added. “There were a lot of Trump voters [who said] ‘Whoa… that’s not what we had in mind.'”

YOUR TURN

Are you part of The Resistance Movement? What does it look like to you?

Like Union Built PC on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

Some Words of Wisdom About Filing A Grievance

All grievance procedures require going through a series of steps, with the contract itself identifying when each step is to take place, what precisely is to occur, and who may or must be involve at each stage of the process. Generally, the procedures get more formal as you go through each of the steps. Some grievances are resolved successfully at the earlier stages of the process, while others are not pursued past a certain point for a variety of reasons. Before we take a look at what the steps of the grievance procedure looks like, here are a few notes of caution.

grievance

First, read through the grievance procedures contained in your collective bargaining agreement. Some of it may look like fairly technical stuff. You’ll probably find requirements as to the format that must be followed in writing up grievances the rules for who receives certain grievance filings, calculation of time frames for processing a grievance (such as the difference between “working days” and “calendar days”), etc. Don’t be intimidate by any of this; your Union Steward has received training in how to process grievances and has additional help to call on if needed. The best advice? Try not to wing it on your own! As soon as something happens that you thin might properly be challenged through the grievance procedure, consult your Steward.

Second, you are to be commended if you familiarize yourself with the provisions of your contract. But don’t automatically assume that, because of what looks like plain language in the contract, there is nothing that can be done to deal with a workplace problem that you have. Sometimes event he plain English in a contract doesn’t mean what it says (or, as the question was put by the Marx Brothers, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”). For example, you may be able to count well enough for it to seem completely clear that too many days have gone by since a particular event occurred for you to meet the time frame set forth in the contract for initiating a grievance. But it’s worth at least consulting with your Steward, since you may learn that there are sometimes unwritten exceptions even to such seemingly clear-cut provisions, such as the grievance time clock stopping for holidays. Or you may learn that there are other mechanisms, besides the grievance procedure, that can be used to address the problem.

Third, don’t make the mistake of assuming that it would be useless to pursue a grievance because you think you’d never be able to get enough evidence to prove your case.

RELATED: 4 Not-So-Obvious Reasons Why Grievances Are Valuable in the Union Workplace

The fact is, both your contract and the law probably give your union the right to obtain vast quantities of documents and other information from your employer, if that information is needed to evaluate a potential or pending grievance. So if proof of your grievance over unfair treatment lies in determining how your employer has dealt with co-workers under circumstances similar to yours, your union will probably be able to get hold of the relevant personnel records.

Finally, before just about any workplace complaint is put into writing, an attempt should be made to work through the problem at the lowest level. Even if your contract’s grievance procedure doesn’t specifically call for an informal oral step to start out with, you and/or your Union Steward should talk to a supervisor in an attempt to clear up any misunderstandings or to resolve any disagreement. This is almost always a good idea, in part because once a complaint is committed to writing, parties’ positions tend to harden. And even if an informal attempt to address a problem does not in fact resolve it, it generally has the beneficial effect of clarifying what the problem is and how the parties may see it differently.

YOUR TURN

Even when keeping these items of caution in mind, sometimes informal attempts don’t work. And it’s time to put something in writing. Have you initiated or filed a grievance in your workplace? What words of caution do you have to add to our list? We want to hear from you! Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.