I belong to a union. The union worked with the company to develop a contract...work rules if you will.
Despite their best efforts some parts of the contract are grey in the eyes of the company. A lay person would read it one way, the well paid lawyers who worked on behalf of the company to form the contract read it another way.
If I make a mistake the company points to the contract and reprimands me right away. If the company makes a mistake (even if they do it daily...to hundreds of pilots) and we feel we are wronged then we have to file a grievance.
Over the years I have filed a few grievances. Some I won while others I lost. None of my "wins" have resulted in money in my pocket though, other pilots have won money.
My most recent "win" was a grievance I filed back in December.
Long story short I put in for 2 days off with pay. I was awarded the days off. The pay for the days off came out of a my vacation bank of hours. Well due to weather I was stuck in a hotel for those two days instead of being at home. For those two days I was "junior manned". I finally went home on the third day which was also a day off and I was junior manned again.
It was my standing that the vacation bank hours should be put back my bank as I wasn't off. I was paid for the days off and a total of 3 junior man days. I wanted just the junior man pay as I wanted to use the vacation bank hours on real days off.
Back in the December I immediately notified payroll of my request. Denied. I then went to my Chief Pilot who agreed with me. The Chief Pilot notified payroll. Denied. I then went to my union whom also agreed with me. Grievance filed.
Last week I got a call from my union...I won, but had a choice in remedy.
A. Get the hours put in my bank, but have an equal number of hours taken out of my next paycheck (since they were paid out in December)
B. Accept the company made a mistake and get nothing
Neither was great. Since I'd already spent the money and didn't want the hours take out I chose option B.
My grievance is somewhat minor. Unfortunately my company violates the contract regularly, especially for reserves. The Chief Pilots stance is to "fly it and grieve it". Pretty crappy, but it is what it is.
The work rules at my company used to be stellar. Since I've been here they have gone down hill. They are still better than others, but not most.
With the clear shortage of pilots I predict further violations by the company in an attempt to keep the schedule going. I fear this summer will be ugly.