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Know Your Rights: What’s Grievable?

April 29, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

From time to time we offer you a “know your rights” snippet, much like the one from February 8th: Retaliation. This time we discuss what is grievable. There are two types of general grievances that can happen at PSU, contractual grievances and non-contractual grievances. PSU-AAUP deals mostly with contractual grievances--a right we are afforded due to our position as a labor union. Non-contractual grievances are not related to the contract, and the procedure is determined by state law. In these instances, PSU-AAUP can advise and assist in these matters, but has no formal standing.

Generally speaking, union members may grieve the following:

  • breaches of the collective bargaining contract,
  • changes in working conditions, and
  • changes in policy.

While the first of those bullet points is straightforward, the next two aren’t as clear. 

Working Conditions
The ILO explains”generally speaking, working conditions cover a broad range of topics and issues, from working time (hours of work, rest periods, and work schedules) to remuneration, as well as the physical conditions and mental demands that exist in the workplace.” Perhaps the most ubiquitous working condition change is a change in workload. However, that is not the only grievable change in working conditions. Moreover, changes in working conditions may look and feel different depending on your position. Here are some examples:

  • Academic Professionals: your project load changes radically; your number of advisees increases; etc.; required changes to your work schedule.
  • Clinicians: An increase in patient or case load.
  • Teaching Faculty: An increase in the roster of your courses increases; service requirements increase. 
  • Research Faculty: You take on more project management duties than you should be assigned. 

Policy Changes
Administration is supposed to notify PSU-AAUP of any policy changes. While this often does happen at the University level, policy changes within colleges and departments are harder to track, and often frequently occur without due process. Examples include:

  • a change in how grant or departmental funds are administered and allocated to members; 
  • implementation of new leave reporting systems; and
  • changes in how evaluations are conducted.

Still not sure if it’s grievable? Better to let someone know. Be in touch with your Unit Rep, a member of the EC, or the incoming VP for Academic Freedom and Grievances, Aaron Roussell ( It’s also better to be safe than sorry. If something seems off, please contact us!

Have a know your rights question? Let us know and we can answer it in Member News!

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