Managing Union Staff

Labor Relations at Columbia University

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

Please review this information on managing workplace performance and concerns for union staff, and training resources for managers of union staff. HR Managers must have a clear understanding of Collective Bargaining Agreements pertinent to their department's employees.

Workplace Performance & Conduct

The Learning & Development team provides in-person training workshops, customized programs and online learning resources for managers to help strengthen core professional skills. Go to our Learning & Development pages to view scheduled training, such as Managing Unionized Staff (offered periodically).

In addition, you can contact the Office of Labor and Employee Relations for on-site, individualized training for managers. 

All newly-hired, newly-promoted and newly-transferred union employees are placed on a probationary period. 

Probationary periods vary in length according to a union group's collective bargaining agreement. 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 a probationary period extension also varies across union groups. Please consult the appropriate collective bargaining agreement

Termination of employment while on probation or extended probationary period must be approved by the head of the department, and must be indicated in writing to the employee. Copies of the letter must be shared with the Office of Labor and Employee Relations and the respective 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 and 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 and Employee Relations for guidance.