Get the Most Cost-Effective Grievance Software for your Union (It’s not Salesforce)


By Barry Diederich
Union Built PC Inc.
Director of Software Development

In recent years new categories of software products have entered the Union software market, and specifically the grievance software market, including CRMs like Salesforce and a slew of HR applications.  Before deciding, here are a few things to keep in mind.

It’s important that the inputs, process flow, accessibility, and permission levels match your needs for each bargaining unit.  Ask:

  • Is the developer a grievance specialist, or a platform administrator/developer (Salesforce, Aptify) who’s a subject area generalist?
  • Is access by Reps and Stewards practical? Could the application include limited edit and/or view access for relevant sub-units and steps?


Think about cost, commitment, and return on investment:

  • What are up-front costs?
  • What’s the cost over 10 and 20 years?
  • If the union decides on a better option after 10 years, how portable is the data?


Subscription software and CRM style development is limited to platform specialists, and custom development can be expensive, dependent on and constrained by the platform.  Platforms also change and evolve.  Salesforce, for example, will change over time, and those changes may not benefit your union.  They’re also very expensive and likely to become more so over time.  Your union would be committed to them, having no leverage on price or features, and will never stop paying whatever they demand.

On the other hand, smaller custom software providers, like Union Built PC, offer a self-standing and nearly “timeless” product in the sense that it is platform independent, based on open-source tools, and designed to operate for decades into the future without application-specific maintenance.  Our software and data are portable to any Linux or Windows server, with a broadly established and safe open source stack (Apache web server, MySQL database, PHP/Python server programming, JavaScript/jQuery/CSS browser coding).  Because of this, it can also include no-cost permission-sensitive access for large numbers of users (like every steward in the bargaining unit).

We beta test in the cloud, and we offer cloud hosting, but we also offer no-cost assistance for installation on the union’s own Windows or Linux servers.  Some of our largest clients have been using their application happily for many years, and pay nothing ongoing for it.