The Pitfalls of Using Excel for Storing Union Grievance Information





Union grievances are a critical aspect of labor relations, and keeping accurate and confidential records of these matters is essential for both labor unions and employers. While many organizations have traditionally turned to spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel to manage and store grievance information, there are several compelling reasons why this practice may not be the wisest choice. In this article, we’ll explore the pitfalls of using Excel to store union grievance information and why alternative solutions may be more suitable.

Limited Data Security

One of the most significant concerns with using Excel for storing union grievance information is the limited data security it offers. Excel files can be password-protected, but they are not designed to provide the robust security features required to protect sensitive labor-related data adequately. In today’s world of increasing cyber threats and data breaches, it’s essential to prioritize data security, especially when handling confidential employee and union information.

Risk of Data Loss

Excel files can be prone to data loss due to various reasons, including accidental deletions, file corruption, or system crashes. Losing grievance information can be a serious setback in labor negotiations and can lead to disputes and mistrust between labor unions and employers. Dedicated grievance management software typically includes data backup and recovery features that provide more robust protection against data loss.

Limited Collaboration Features

Collaboration is often a critical aspect of managing union grievances. Excel was primarily designed as a standalone spreadsheet program, and while it allows for basic collaboration through shared files, it lacks the real-time collaboration and communication features found in dedicated grievance management systems, such as Grievance Manager. These systems enable multiple users to work on cases simultaneously and provide a centralized platform for discussions and document sharing.

Inadequate Reporting and Analysis

Excel has limitations when it comes to generating comprehensive reports and conducting in-depth data analysis. In the context of labor grievances, it’s essential to track trends, identify recurring issues, and analyze the outcomes of past cases. Dedicated grievance management software often includes built-in reporting tools and analytics features that can provide valuable insights into labor relations.

Difficulty in Maintaining Confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is paramount when dealing with union grievance information. Excel files can be easily shared or accessed by unauthorized individuals, posing a significant risk to the privacy of the parties involved. Dedicated grievance management systems typically include robust access control and permission settings to ensure that only authorized personnel can view or modify sensitive data.

Lack of Workflow Automation

Handling union grievances often involves multiple steps and workflows, including the filing of a grievance, investigation, negotiation, and resolution. Excel lacks the workflow automation capabilities that dedicated grievance management software offers. Automated workflows can help streamline the grievance process, ensuring that deadlines are met, and nothing falls through the cracks.


While Excel is a versatile tool for various spreadsheet tasks, it may not be the wisest choice for storing and managing union grievance information. The limitations in data security, collaboration, reporting, and workflow automation make it an inadequate solution for handling the sensitive and complex nature of labor grievances. Organizations looking to improve their labor relations and grievance management processes should consider investing in dedicated grievance management software that is designed to meet the unique needs of labor unions and employers while prioritizing data security and confidentiality. By doing so, they can better protect sensitive information, streamline their processes, and foster more effective labor relations.  Please keep in mind that the top member complaints against their Executive Board is failure to represent a member and failure to bargain in good faith. We urge you to take a look at our Grievance Manager, it will do all the things we have just discussed and much more.  More importantly, it will most certainly enable you to represent your members more effectively.

Barry Diederich
Director of Software Development
Union Built PC Inc.
[email protected]