We shall deal with the handling of grievances in two parts. First, with the handling of time claims:
1. Familiarize yourself with the Local Chairperson's records when you assume office.
2. Know your contract and any local or special agreements, interpretations, etc., modifying or revising rules.
3 Each Local Chairperson should study each time claim for schedule agreement rule violations. They should then support the position of the committee, by citing the schedule agreement rules considered violated, in the appeal to the carrier.
4. Check for prior settlements of identical or similar claims in your files.
5. Do not advise members that time claims not supported by schedule agreement rules can be collected. You will only force yourself into admitting later the time claim is not valid. If you know a time claim lacks support, tell the member that the claim does not have merit under the schedule agreement rules and explain the reasons for lack of support by quoting the rule or rules to the member. Do not just merely state the claim is no good.
256. When in doubt, give your General Chairperson all of the facts, cite your rules, agreements, prior settlements, and respect his/her greater experience and judgment.
7. Keep other Local Chairpersons posted on significant changes or developments, which may help them in their work.
8. In negotiating with the carrier, stick to the language of your rules and settlements, and insist upon compliance with them, while doing the same on your part. This will gain you the respect of the carrier officer, and bring you better results.
9 If you find material necessary to fulfilling your responsibilities is not furnished you, contact your General Chairperson and determine what can be done to fill in the gaps.
10. The most important thing to remember is: Appeals must be made in writing in order to be a matter of record under existing time limits. Do not fall into a trap set by a carrier officer who says, "Don't appeal that claim, I will check it for you." If you wait for the reply and the time limit expires, the claim will be procedurally dead under the time limit provisions.
Claims Erroneously Stated
If, in the handling of a claim, it is found to have an insufficient agreement basis after initial presentation, the claim should be rephrased to the proper basis and formal notification given the carrier. An outright denial may result if the claim is permitted to remain pending on an incorrect basis, for the reason the claim as made is not supported by rules relied upon. See First Division Awards 1383, 3603, 6626, 17091 and 17429.
In other cases, the particular claim may not be valid, but the rules support the claim on a slightly different basis. For example, a claim may be made for an additional day at the yard rates to a road crew, where the agreement provides for payment of an arbitrary for terminal time, or for local rates under the conversion rule; or, a claim may be presented for lost earnings of the assignment and the agreement provides for payment of a run around, or vice versa. In a large number of awards, the First Division has made a correct application of the rules to award payment different from that claimed. See First Division Awards 19239, 19240, 19315, 19421, 19501,19673 and 19830.