Managing Union Staff

Labor Relations at Columbia University

Please review the information below on managing workplace performance and concerns for union staff, and training resources for managers of union staff. All HR Managers must have a clear understanding of their employees' collective bargaining agreements.

HR Managers should always consult with the Office of Labor & Employee Relations first when dealing with grievances and performance issues.

Workplace Performance & Conduct

The Learning & Development team provides in-person training workshops, customized programs and online learning resources for managers that help strengthen core professional skills. Visit Learning & Development to view the complement of available training, including the Managing Unionized Staff (offered periodically). In addition, please contact the Office of Labor & Employee Relations for on-site individualized training for managers. 

All newly hired, newly promoted and newly transferred union support staff employees are placed on a probationary period. The length of probationary periods vary across union groups so please consult the collective bargaining agreement for the relevant union. Upon an employee's satisfactory completion of the probationary period, he or she is considered a regular employee (unless the job is stated to be temporary).

A probationary period may be extended under certain circumstances. The length of the probationary period extension also varies across the union groups so please consult the appropriate collective bargaining agreement. Termination of employment while on probation or an extended probationary period must be approved by the head of the department and must be indicated in writing to the employee with a copy of the letter to the Office of Labor & Employee Relations and the Union.

Grievance Procedure for Union Support Staff

Procedures for handling union support staff concerns and grievances are covered in each collective bargaining agreements. Managers of union staff should be familiar with the content of the applicable union contracts.

For additional information and guidance, please contact the Office of Labor & Employee Relations.

Discipline Procedure for Union Support Staff

All employees are expected to adhere to generally accepted rules of conduct and organizational behavior. Please review the Administrative Code of Conduct and Statement of Ethical Conduct Policy for a statement of these basic principles. 

If the work performance or conduct of a union support staff member does not meet acceptable standards, please contact the Office of Labor & Employee Relations for guidance.