Now might be a good time to mention some popular management tactics designed to frustrate you and your union. Managers might use them "tactically" during your Step 1 meeting, or "strategically" over the weeks and months of a grievance. But use them they will. They always have.
Probably the all-time favorite. By foot-dragging, management hopes you'll lose interest and go away. This is why the grievance steps have time limits, and why we've asked you to write them in this book. (You did write them, didn't you?)
- SIDETRACKING, WATER-MUDDYING
Like a magician who misdirects your attention, bosses love to bring up issues not related to the grievance you're dealing with. Don't let them.
- THREATS AND INSULTS
Crude, but often effective. Don't let management provoke you into losing your temper. If you have a grievant with you at a meeting, be sure they're prepared for this one. Call a caucus (outside) if you think somebody's about to lose it (including you).
When several issues are on the table, management may offer you a "trade": win one, lose one. Don't fall for it. It's a sure way to lose the trust of your members, and it may expose you to fair representation claims. Never risk your integrity to buy a "win." If you lose both grievances, so be it. If you should ever horsetrade, management will demand a concession from the union for every agreement ever after.
Like stalling, only worse. Sometimes they're bluffing, sometimes not. This is the tactic arbitrations are made from. The only way to find out is to invoke the time limits in your contract. That's why they're there. It's the union's job to move the grievance along.