Union FAQ's

How can I find out more about SGEU?

SGEU also has steward training courses called LD 10 and LD 20 which provide information about the structure and function of the union. The Steward Manual handbook and Steward Pocket Calendar are other resources. SGEU is a large organization, whose structure can sometimes seem complicated. The longer you are active and the more questions you ask other stewards and your chief steward, the more familiar you will become with it.

Where can I find orietation materials for new members?

Suggested speaking notes can be found on this web page in the Steward Resources section. Contact SGEU, Education for LD5 kits.

What is a bargaining unit?

A bargaining unit is the union's term for a group of people who are covered by the same contract. In most cases, your bargaining unit is the same as your workplace. For example, if you work at the Happy Joy Help Home, then your bargaining unit is Happy Joy Help Home. It is a little different for direct government (Public Service) employees, who share the same contract and belong to one bargaining unit called Public Service/Government Employment (PS/GE). For example, if you work for the Department of Learning, your bargaining unit is PS/GE, the same as someone who works for the Department of Highways.

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

A Collective Bargaining Agreement is a negotiated contract between appointed union representatives and employers, which outlines the conditions of employment, including wages, hours of employment, benefits and other conditions.

What do I get for my union dues?

What are my union dues doing for me?

How much are my union dues?

Union dues are 1.7% of earnings. They’re tax deductible!

What are a few of the major priorities of a union?

Organizing the low-paid, pushing for higher minimum wages and better working conditions, employment security, federal and provincial employment standards, etc.

How do members submit a bargaining proposal?

Before the end of the term of your current collective agreement, all members of your bargaining unit will be sent a letter asking them to submit written suggestions for new bargaining proposals. Talk to your chief steward or bargaining committee chair to find out more details.

What is the SGEU scholarship and bursary process?

The SGEU Education team manage the bursary program and are the only ones who sees the bursary applications.  When the applications are received by the office, they are assigned a number (i.e. 1,2,3, etc) .  The first two pages of the application are removed to protect the identity of the applicant.  The rest of the application package, including the essay,  is vetted to ensure there are no self-identifying marks.  Once this process is complete the vetted applications are forwarded to the bursary selection committee for their review – they do not know the applicants name or the relationship of the applicant, i.e. whether a member or a dependant.

The bursary committee awards points on the essays and has adopted a point system on a variety of factors such as income, equity, whether the applicant has dependants (and if so, how many dependants) or not and whether the applicant is going to a private or public institution. The bursary committee returns the graded applications to the SGEU education office.  The assigned numbered and graded applications are returned to their original file.  The highest points are awarded the bursaries.  While not all applicants can win, five full time and three part time awards are given out each year.

SGEU believes that this process is the most equitable way of handling the many applications we receive annually.  If you have applied and have not been awarded a bursary, we encourage you to continue pursuing bursaries through the SGEU Education department.  SGEU wishes you every good success with your education!

What is an SGEU Ombudsmun?

The SGEU Ombudsmun works in accordance with the SGEU Constitution and is the person designated to work closely with the Chair at every SGEU event.  Together their responsibility is to ensure that the SGEU events are conducted in a fair, unbiased and respectful way.  The Ombudsmun will monitor the tone of that event and ensure the principles of a successful meeting are respected by all participants.  They are tasked with the responsibility to respond to complaints about unfairness from people who believe they or another person has been treated unfairly.

The Ombudsmun may investigate and gather the information on member complaints.  Based on the information they have gathered they determine how to respond and what to recommend.  If the case is particularly complicated and they can’t resolve the matter themselves,  the Ombudsman can only make recommendations to the governing body Membership Constitution & Legislation (MC&L).  This is the body tasked with investigating complaints within SGEU.

It’s important to remember that the Ombudsmun keeps the information confidential and that means working directly with the person or persons who think someone has been unfair to them.

The SGEU Education Department maintains a list of active Ombudsmun for your SGEU event.

What contact numbers do I need to get more information?

Are all acts of discipline arbitral?

All acts of discipline can be grieved.  If the union finds that the employer has met the "just cause" standard for discipline the grievance is likely to be settled through the grievance process and not through arbitration.

Can time limits on a grievance be extended if only one party agrees?

No.  Time limits can only be extended by mutual agreement.  This must be done in writing.

What is Progressive Discipline?

Progressive discipline is an employee disciplinary system that provides a graduated range of responses to employee performance or conduct problems. Disciplinary measures range from mild to severe, depending on the nature and frequency of the problem. For example, an informal coaching session might be appropriate for an employee who is tardy or violates a minor work rule, while a more serious intervention -- or even termination -- might be called for if an employee commits serious misconduct or doesn't improve a performance problem after receiving several opportunities to do so.  Progressive discipline is based on the principle of the employer’s corrective action response which should be appropriate and proportionate to the employee's conduct.


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