The union contract is another type of very powerful paper. Union contracts govern the rights of union employees. Besides guaranteeing salary and benefits, this contract often provides for a grievance procedure, and job security and prohibits the employer from taking disciplinary action without “just cause.” Union contracts may also take away rights, as when they require employees to use the grievance or arbitration procedures to settle disputes instead of permitting employees to pursue their legal remedies.
If you have a union contract and have a serious problem at work, you should contact your union to ascertain what your rights are and whether they will assist you. If you are unhappy with the advice or assistance your union is giving, you should see an employment attorney who has expertise in representing union members.
Instead of directly conferring or taking away rights, confirmation letters are documents communicated between the employer and the employee that provide indirect EVIDENCE of rights. Employees often fail to appreciate the power and value of confirmation letters.
If you receive any IMPORTANT PROMISE which you rely on and which your employer is not willing to put in written form, confirm it yourself in a letter.
Consider using confirmation letters to confirm:
- Salary, bonus, stock options and other benefit promises;
- Job security understandings;
- Commission agreements;
- Corporate funding commitments to new entities or projects to which you are assigned;
- Promotion or job assignment promises.
- Support and staffing promises
Suggestions for Confirmation Letters
- Make sure you keep a SIGNED COPY, not just your computer draft.
- The letter should be as specific, complete and concrete as possible.
- You should use the term, “This is to confirm my understanding that . . .” or comparable language. It will also be stronger if you add, “I will assume that you share this understanding unless I hear back from you in writing.”
- Do not hesitate to consult an employment attorney if you are uncertain and the letter is important. Your employer never needs to know an attorney was involved.