File an Appeal
Article 33 of the UAW Constitution describes the UAW International Union’s internal appeals process. Using these procedures UAW members can obtain review of any action, decision, or penalty issued by the International Union or one of its subordinate bodies. Members may also use these procedures to protest a failure or refusal to act by one of these bodies.
Appeals regarding Local Union or Local Unit actions
Where a member has a complaint about actions or decisions made by his or her Local Union or one of the Local Union officers, the member should address that complaint to the Local Union membership (or Unit, where applicable).
Comment: This rule applies to a refusal by a Local Union officer or bargaining chairperson to file a grievance.
An appeal to the Local Union may be presented at a meeting of the membership body or it may be submitted in writing addressed to the Local Union Recording Secretary.
Comment: Although appeals may be presented orally at a membership meeting, it is a good practice to submit a signed and dated letter of appeal.
Appeals at the membership level must be presented within 60 days of the day the appellant first becomes aware, or reasonably should have become aware, of the action or decision being appealed. Appeals from a decision of the Unit membership to the Amalgamated Local Union itself must be filed within 30 days.
Comment: Time limits applicable to appeals at this level are strictly enforced. Although the written appeal should be as specific and detailed as possible, do not wait to clear up minor points of fact once you become aware of the challenged decision or action. If the appeal is filed beyond the applicable time limit, it will not be considered.
The Local Executive Board may consider and decide appeals when no regularly scheduled meeting of the membership is held within 45 days of the Local Union’s receipt of an appeal.
Appeals to the International Executive Board (IEB)
If a member is dissatisfied with the action taken by the membership on his or her appeal, the member may appeal to the International Executive Board (IEB). An appeal to the IEB from a decision of a Local Union or Unit must be submitted within 30 days.
Comment: Once again, time limits will be strictly enforced. File the notice of appeal immediately. You can follow up with further arguments after the appeal is filed.
An appeal to the IEB must be in writing and signed by the member. The appeal should be submitted in care of the International President, Solidarity House, International Union, UAW 8000 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48214-3963.
Comment: The appeal letter should clearly describe the action being challenged and the basis for the challenge. Don’t forget to sign your appeal. At this level, it is mandatory that all members wishing to join in the appeal provide an original physical signature. Electronic submissions and electronic signatures are not accepted.
Appeals regarding actions of the International Union or its officers
The IEB has original jurisdiction to consider appeals challenging decisions or actions of International Officers, Regional Directors, International Representatives or any administrative arm of the International Union, such as a National Department. Appeals challenging acts or omissions occurring at the International level must be initiated within 30 days of the time the member first learned, or reasonably should have learned, of the action being appealed. Appeals submitted directly to the IEB should also be sent in care of the International President at Solidarity House.
Comment: There are various exceptions to the IEB’s original jurisdiction to review actions of International officers. These are described in Article 33, §2(b) of the International Constitution.
The usual method followed by the UAW for deciding appeals presented to the IEB is for the International President’s staff to conduct an investigation and prepare a written report to the IEB. The written report of the President’s hearing officers is sent to all members of the IEB and becomes the decision of the IEB unless one or more members of the IEB objects to it within ten days..
Appeals to the Public Review Board
The PRB has jurisdiction to review decisions of the IEB. An appeal to the PRB must be in writing and signed by the member. It must be submitted within 30 days of the members’ receipt of the IEB’s decision. The appeal should be mailed to the Office of the International President at Solidarity House.
Comment: Appeals from decisions of the IEB should indicate whether the appellant wishes to appeal to the PRB or the CAC. If the member wishes to appeal to the PRB, the President will forward it to the PRB’s offices for processing. At that point, the case will be docketed and assigned a Case Number.
The PRB has no original jurisdiction to review appeals processed under Article 33 of the Constitution. In order to appeal to the PRB, a member must first present his or her concerns to the IEB and obtain a decision from that body. In cases involving the handling of grievances, the PRB’s jurisdiction to review decisions of the IEB is limited to allegations that the matter was improperly handled because of fraud, discrimination, or collusion with management, or that the disposition or handling of the matter was devoid of any rational basis.
The PRB has no jurisdiction to review in any way an official collective bargaining policy of the International Union.
Claims arising under the Ethical Practices Codes
of the UAW Constitution describes procedures for raising Ethical Practices Complaints. Ethical Practices Complaints address violations of the Ethical Practices Codes. These Codes can be found in the UAW Constitution booklet immediately following the Constitution itself. There are four Codes which address the following subjects: Democratic Practices; Financial Practices; Health, Welfare and Retirement Funds; and Financial Activities of Union Officials.
Ethical Practices Complaints concerning Local Union actions are processed in much the same manner as appeals presented pursuant to Article 33. The Complaint must first be presented to the general membership of the Local Union. If the member is dissatisfied with the Local membership’s action, the member can appeal to the IEB to address the Complaint.
The IEB has the initial responsibility for investigating any Ethical Practices Complaint. Upon receipt of an Ethical Practices Complaint, the IEB is required to forward a copy of the Complaint to the Chairperson(s) of the PRB and to keep the PRB advised of its investigation and action in response to it. Any party dissatisfied with the IEB’s response to an Ethical Practices Complaint may appeal to the PRB. Appeals to the PRB must be submitted within 30 days following the member’s receipt of the IEB’s decision.
Comment: The PRB has no original jurisdiction over Ethical Practices Complaints against Local Union officers. Members alleging violations of the Ethical Practices Codes by Local Union officers must first seek redress from the Local Union. If the Local Union cannot resolve the problem, the member can seek review by the IEB and finally, the PRB. The PRB is authorized to initiate action on an Ethical Practices Complaint only if it concludes that there is substance to the Complaint and the action taken by the IEB does not satisfactorily meet the problem.
Complaints against the International Union and its officers
In order to file an Ethical Practices Complaint against the operation of the International Union or any officer or representative thereof, a member must first obtain the approval of his Local Union membership before presenting the Complaint to the IEB. Once this approval is obtained, the Complaint and certification of the membership’s approval should be forwarded to the IEB in care of the International President’s office.
Comment: The certification referred to in Article 32, §5(b) is simply documentation to show that the Complaint was presented to the membership and that the membership approved the filing of the Complaint with the IEB. A copy of the minutes of the membership meeting where the approval was obtained is adequate certification as long as it is clear from the minutes that the act of filing such a Complaint was approved.
Both the IEB and the PRB are authorized to waive compliance with the certification requirement when, in either of their respective judgments, there are valid and substantial reasons for doing so.